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J Environ Public Health. 2010;2010:213960. doi: 10.1155/2010/213960. Epub 2010 Sep 21.

Inhalation exposures to particulate matter and carbon monoxide during Ethiopian coffee ceremonies in Addis Ababa: a pilot study.

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Department of the Environment and Sustainability, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403, USA.


The unique Ethiopian cultural tradition of the coffee ceremony increases inhalation exposures to combustion byproducts. This pilot study evaluated exposures to particulate matter and carbon monoxide in ten Addis Ababa homes during coffee ceremonies. For coffee preparers the geometric mean (57 μg/m³) and median (72 μg/m³) contributions to an increase in a 24-hour time-weighted average exposure were above World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. At 40% of the study sites the contribution to the 24-hour average exposure was greater than twice the WHO guideline. Similar exposure increases existed for ceremony participants. Particulate matter concentrations may be related to the use of incense during the ceremony. In nearly all homes the WHO guideline for a 60-minute exposure to carbon monoxide was exceeded. Finding control measures to reduce these exposures will be challenging due to the deeply engrained nature of this cultural practice and the lack of availability of alternative fuels.

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