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No fewer than 90 million Nigerians are at risk of hypertension, miscarriage and other ill-health, through cooking with unclean fuels such as firewood and kerosene.

Director, International Programmes, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, United States, Professor Sola Olopade, said this in his presentation on “Energy Poverty and the Unseen Dangers of Exposure to Household Air Pollution”.

Professor Olopade was discussing the result of a three-year study in three communities of Igboora, Abanla and Eruwa in Oyo State, towards understanding the impact of household air pollution on health at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.

Olapade stated that more than three billion people cooked with solid fuel in the world, adding that household air pollution from solid fuel was also responsible for yearly four million premature deaths globally.

According to him, “household air pollution accounts for over 3 per cent of the global burden of disease. It is a major contributor to environmental degradation and climate change.”

He stated that frequency of reported symptoms of the menace in mothers exposed to household air pollution included headache, running nose and burning eyes, fever, chest tightness, dizziness, dry cough and difficult breathing.

Olopade, who warned that women and children were at greatest risk of household air pollution, said findings of the study indicated that 6.4 per cent of kerosene/firewood users developed hypertension in comparison with only 1.9 per cent in ethanol users.

Olopade, however, said usage of Clean Cooking stove and ethanol would reduce the hazard of cooking with kerosene and firewood, saying the World Health Organisation (WHO), had also said the usage of kerosene for cooking was inimical to health.

He said ethanol and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) were in the same category, adding that they are clean for cooking unlike wood and kerosene.

He said Nigeria could get ethanol from cassava so that people living in communities that did not have access to electricity could use ethanol as the fuel for cooking their food.

“Household air pollution accounts for 89 deaths per 1,000 in Nigeria. Exposure of babies still in the womb to household air pollution also associated with adverse pregnancy outcome,” Olopade said.

 

Source: The Nigerian Tribune

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