Though the high prevalence of biomass
fuel use in the developing world is widely known, the use of burning biomass
for cooking and heating in the developed world is under-recognized.Combustion materials including coal and
wood are also used for heating in some areas of the United States.We conducted a pilot study to assess
the feasibility of conducting indoor environmental monitoring in rural Appalachia. We sought to explore the type of biomass
being used for home heating and its impact upon indoor air quality in
non-heating and heating seasons. Residential indoor air monitoring for
particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) was conducted in LeeCounty, Virginia. Homes had evidence
of poor indoor air quality with high concentrations of indoor PM and a large
burden of cigarette smoking. Further characterization of indoor combustion
material use in this region to determine the health impacts associated with
such exposures is warranted.
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