The use of solid biomass fuels in cookstoves has been associated with chronic health impacts that disproportionately affect women worldwide. Solid fuel stoves that use wood, plant matter, and cow dung are commonly used for household cooking in rural Bangladesh. This study investigates the immediate effects of acute elevated cookstove emission exposures on pulmonary function. Pulmonary function was measured with spirometry before and during cooking to assess changes in respiratory function during exposure to cookstove emissions for 15 females ages 18–65. Cookstove emissions were characterized using continuous measurements of particulate matter (PM2.5
—aerodynamic diameter <2.5 μm) concentrations at a 1 s time resolution for each household. Several case studies were observed where women ≥40 years who had been cooking for ≥25 years suffered from severe pulmonary impairment. Forced expiratory volume in one second over forced vital capacity (FEV1/FVC) was found to moderately decline (p
= 0.06) during cooking versus non-cooking in the study cohort. The study found a significant (α < 0.05) negative association between 3- and 10-min maximum PM2.5
emissions during cooking and lung function measurements of forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), and FEV1/FVC obtained during cooking intervals. This study found that exposure to biomass burning emissions from solid fuel stoves- associated with acute elevated PM2.5
concentrations- leads to a decrease in pulmonary function, although further research is needed to ascertain the prolonged (e.g., daily, for multiple years) impacts of acute PM2.5
exposure on immediate and sustained respiratory impairment.
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