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Nairobi children highly exposed to carbon monoxide, says Kemri report

Monday, May 20th, 2024 05:36 | By
Smoke emmissions. PHOTO/Print
Smoke emmissions. PHOTO/Print

School going children in Nairobi are highly exposed to carbon monoxide (CO) due to household air pollution from cooking compared to those who reside in the countryside, a new study by Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) has shown.

The researchers from the institution note that this is ironic as the use of rudimentary cooking fuel is more pronounced in the rural households than in the urban areas, especially the City.

“Despite most of the urban homes in the two contrasting study areas, concentrations of Carbon Monoxide levels were comparable with those previously reported in rural homes that predominantly use more polluting solid fuels such as charcoal and wood,” the study, Tupumue, meaning ‘let us breathe’ notes.

The study has just been published in the Environmental Pollution scientific journal and is a multidisciplinary study bring together researchers from Kenya including those from KEMRI, and their United Kingdom counterparts from Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM), Storkholm Environmental Institute, and the University of Stirling among others.

The non-communicable lung disease in Kenya study sought to determine the burden and early life determinants and air pollution concentrations that were measured for 24 hours in nearly 200 homes in Nairobi.

It established that a substantial proportion of homes - nearly 1 in 10 - had concentrations that would activate a European-standard carbon monoxide alarm, suggesting that there is likely to be a considerable unquantified burden on health from acute carbon monoxide exposure and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas produced by incomplete combustion of carbon-based fuels burning fuels on poorly ventilated stoves, chronic health effects.

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