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Eur Respir J. 2015 Dec;46(6):1577-88. doi: 10.1183/13993003.01865-2014. Epub 2015 Sep 24.

Health impacts of anthropogenic biomass burning in the developed world.

Author information

1
University of Aarhus, Institute of Public Health, Aarhus, Denmark ts@ph.au.dk.
2
Dept of Public Health and Clinical Medicine/Environmental Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
3
INSERM UMR-S 1136, Institute Pierre Louis of Epidemiology and Public Health, Epidemiology of Allergic and Respiratory Diseases, Paris, France UPMC, UMR-S 1136, Institute Pierre Louis of Epidemiology and Public Health, Epidemiology of Allergic and Respiratory Diseases, Paris, France.
4
Dept of Public Health and Clinical Medicine/Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
5
Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Division of Environmental Medicine, Dept of Air Pollution and Noise, Oslo, Norway.
6
Thermochemical Energy Conversion Laboratory, Dept of Applied Physics and Electronics, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
7
University of Aarhus, Institute of Public Health, Aarhus, Denmark.
8
University of British Columbia, School of Population and Public Health, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
9
WHO, Geneva, Switzerland.
10
WHO Regional Office for Europe, Bonn, Germany.
11
University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland.
12
King's College London, London, UK.
13
Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.
14
Krefting Research Centre, Institute of Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
15
Medical University of Vienna, Institute of Environmental Health, Vienna, Austria.
16
The University of Montana, Center for Environmental Health Sciences, Missoula, MT, USA.
17
Lund University, Ergonomics and Aerosol Technology, Lund, Sweden.
18
Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Institute of Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.
19
University Jules Bordet, Brussels, Belgium.
20
Utrecht University, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht, The Netherlands Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Climate change policies have stimulated a shift towards renewable energy sources such as biomass. The economic crisis of 2008 has also increased the practice of household biomass burning as it is often cheaper than using oil, gas or electricity for heating. As a result, household biomass combustion is becoming an important source of air pollutants in the European Union.This position paper discusses the contribution of biomass combustion to pollution levels in Europe, and the emerging evidence on the adverse health effects of biomass combustion products.Epidemiological studies in the developed world have documented associations between indoor and outdoor exposure to biomass combustion products and a range of adverse health effects. A conservative estimate of the current contribution of biomass smoke to premature mortality in Europe amounts to at least 40 000 deaths per year.We conclude that emissions from current biomass combustion products negatively affect respiratory and, possibly, cardiovascular health in Europe. Biomass combustion emissions, in contrast to emissions from most other sources of air pollution, are increasing. More needs to be done to further document the health effects of biomass combustion in Europe, and to reduce emissions of harmful biomass combustion products to protect public health.

PMID:
26405285
DOI:
10.1183/13993003.01865-2014
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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