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Solid Fuel Use May Not Increase COPD

By Jadwiga A. Wedzicha, MD, editor, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Follow Dr. Wedzicha on Twitter @ATSBlueEditor

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Airflow Obstruction and Use of Solid Fuels for Cooking or Heating: BOLD Results

Does burning solid fuel for cooking and heating increase the risk of developing COPD? The answer from five systematic reviews is yes. However, André F. S. Amaral and colleagues came to the opposite conclusion with their large population-based study, Burden of Obstructive Lung Disease. The study, reported in the March 1 American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, included more than 18,000 adults 40 or older from 25 sites in low-, middle-, and high-income countries. Exposure to a coal, charcoal, wood or other solid fuel open fire was self-reported; airflow obstruction assessed from post-bronchodilator spirometry.

The authors caution that their study “does not mean that this exposure is not harmful to humans.” Among certain groups of women and men, exposure to open fires was associated with chronic phlegm. The authors also note that many other health problems are associated with solid fuels, including childhood pneumonias and airway malignancies. 


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