: Approximately 3 billion people, worldwide, rely primarily on biomass for cooking. This study aimed to investigate the association between respiratory symptoms among women in charge of household cooking and the type of fuel used for cooking. Methods
: A community-based cross-sectional survey was conducted. A total of 1705 women that were randomly selected, completed the survey. We also performed a bivariate and a multivariate analysis to verify the possible associations between respiratory symptoms in women in charge of household cooking and the type of cooking fuel used. Results
: Dry cough, breathing difficulties, and throat irritation frequencies were statistically high in biomass fuel users when compared to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) users. It was also the case for some chronic respiratory symptoms, such as sputum production, shortness of breath, wheezing, wheezing with dyspnea, wheezing without a cold, waking up with shortness of breath, waking up with coughing attacks, and waking up with breathing difficulty. After adjustment for the respondents’ and households’ characteristics; dry cough, breathing difficulties, sneezing, nose tingling, throat irritation, chronic sputum production, wheezing, wheezing with dyspnea, wheezing without a cold, waking up with shortness of breath, waking up with coughing attacks, and waking up with breathing difficulty were symptoms that remained associated to biomass fuel compared to LPG. Women who used charcoal reported the highest proportion of all the chronic respiratory symptoms compared to the firewood users. However, this difference was not statistically significant except for the wheezing, waking up with coughing attacks, and waking up with breath difficulty, after adjustment. Conclusion
: Exposure to biomass smoke is responsible for respiratory health problems in women. Charcoal, which is often considered as a clean fuel compared to other biomass fuels and often recommended as an alternative to firewood, also presents health risks, including increased respiratory morbidity in women. Effective and efficient energy policies are needed to accelerate the transition to clean and sustainable energies.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited