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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 55-59

Association of adverse neonatal outcome with biomass fuel use

1 Department of Occupational Medicine, Regional Occupational Health Centre (Eastern), Kolkata, West Bengal, India
2 Department of Occupational Medicine, All Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Calcutta Medical College, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Correspondence Address:
Asim Saha
Department of Occupational Medicine, Regional Occupational Health Centre (Eastern), DP Block, Sector V, Salt Lake City, Kolkata - 700 091, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ed.ed_3_17

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Background: Evidence has emerged which suggests that indoor air pollution resulting from biomass fuel combustion in developing countries may, apart from chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer, also increase the risk of asthma, middle ear infection in children, and tuberculosis, nasopharyngeal and laryngeal cancer, and cataract in adults. Significant findings, although through fewer studies, are being observed recently regarding the association of low birth weight, neonatal mortality with biomass fuel use. Biomass provides 32% of all the primary energy use in India at present, which may bring significant adverse impacts on human health. In this backdrop, the present study was initiated to explore the effect of biomass fuel use on adverse neonatal outcome. Methods: This hospital-based prospective study was carried out during March 2014–December 2015 in Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata, India. This study included 609 subjects and compared adverse neonatal outcome with normal outcome in relation to fuel use characteristics. Results: This study observed that low birth weight, lesser head circumference, neonatal death, less developed genitalia, and need to stay at nursery was more frequent with mothers using biomass fuel. Significantly increased risk of “low birth weight” (risk ratio [RR] 1.78, 95% confidence interval [CI]; 1.11–3.64) and “need of newborn to stay in neonatal care unit” (RR 1.82, 95% CI; 1.08–4.06) was observed in biomass fuel users after adjusting for age of mother, type of residence, age at marriage, and hemoglobin level of the mother at last trimester. Conclusions: This study observed a significant association between biomass fuel use and adverse neonatal outcomes such as low birth weight and stay in neonatal care unit. Observation of the study not only highlighted the need of a proper preventive measure in the form of an intervention device but also pointed out the fact that elevating the level of education among women may suitably contribute in effective control of the problem.

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