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Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2011 Jun;165(6):492-7. doi: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2010.294. Epub 2011 Feb 7.

Indoor coal use and early childhood growth.

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  • 1Department of Public Health Sciences, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine whether indoor coal combustion for heating, which releases pollutants into the air, affects early childhood growth.

DESIGN:

A prospective longitudinal study, with growth measurements extracted from medical records of the children's well-child care visits at age 36 months. Data were compiled from self-administered questionnaires and medical records, both completed at 2 time points: delivery and follow-up.

SETTING:

Teplice and Prachatice districts in the Czech Republic.

PARTICIPANTS:

A total of 1133 children followed from birth to age 36 months.

MAIN EXPOSURE:

Maternally reported use of coal for heating.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE:

The z score for height for age and sex at age 36 months.

RESULTS:

Adjusted for covariates, indoor coal use was significantly associated with a lower z score for height for age and sex at age 36 months (z score = -0.37; 95% confidence interval, -0.60 to -0.14). This finding translates into a reduction in height of about 1.34 cm (95% confidence interval, 0.51 to 2.16) for boys and 1.30 cm (95% confidence interval, 0.50 to 2.10) for girls raised in homes that used coal. The association between coal use and height was modified by postnatal cigarette smoke exposure.

CONCLUSIONS:

Pollution from indoor coal use may impair early childhood skeletal growth to age 36 months. Because a significant proportion of the world population still uses coal indoors, the finding has public health consequences.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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