Author(s): Painschab MS, DavilaRoman VG, Gilman RH, VasquezVillar AD, Pollard SL,
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Biomass fuels are used for cooking in the majority of rural households worldwide. While their use is associated with an increased risk of lung diseases and all-cause mortality, the effects on cardiovascular disease (CVD) are not well characterised. Exposure to biomass fuel smoke has been associated with lung-mediated inflammation and oxidative stress, which may increase the risk of atherosclerosis as evaluated by carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT), carotid atherosclerotic plaque prevalence and blood pressure. METHODS: A cross-sectional study was performed in 266 adults aged ≥35 years in Puno, Peru (3825 m above sea level). We stratified participants by their long-term history of exposure to clean fuel (n=112) or biomass fuel (n=154) and measured 24 h indoor particulate matter (PM2.5) in a random subset (n=84). Participants completed questionnaires and underwent a clinical assessment, laboratory analyses and carotid artery ultrasound. The main outcome measures were CIMT, carotid plaque and blood pressure. RESULTS: The groups were similar in age and gender. The biomass fuel group had greater unadjusted mean CIMT (0.66 vs 0.60 mm; p<0.001), carotid plaque prevalence (26\% vs 14\%; p=0.03), systolic blood pressure (118 vs 111 mm Hg; p<0.001) and median household PM2.5 (280 vs 14 µg/m(3); p<0.001). In multivariable regression, the biomass fuel group had greater mean CIMT (mean difference=0.03 mm, 95\% CI 0.01 to 0.06; p=0.02), a higher prevalence of carotid plaques (OR=2.6, 95\% CI 1.1 to 6.0; p=0.03) and higher systolic blood pressure (mean difference=9.2 mm Hg, 95\% CI 5.4 to 13.0; p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Chronic exposure to biomass fuel was associated with increased CIMT, increased prevalence of atherosclerotic plaques and higher blood pressure. These findings identify biomass fuel use as a risk factor for CVD, which may have important global health implications.
This article was published in Heart
and referenced in Journal of Environmental Analytical Chemistry