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Global Health
January 20, 2015

A Breath of Fresh Air

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2015 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA. 2015;313(3):235. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.17862

New recommendations for improving indoor air quality and reducing emissions of pollutants from heating and cooking stoves that are commonly used in low- and middle-income countries are outlined in the World Health Organization (WHO) publication “Indoor Air Quality Guidelines: Household Fuel Combustion,” (

Around the world, almost 3 billion people burn fuels such as unprocessed coal, wood, and animal dung in indoor stoves, and more than 1 billion use kerosene lamps. According to the report, emissions of particulate matter and other pollutants, which can be carcinogenic and cause cardiac and pulmonary disease, can be hundreds of times higher than WHO’s recommended levels. The deaths of millions of children and adults and serious injuries are associated with these dangerous household practices.

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