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Residential Environmental Risks for Reproductive Age Women in Developing Countries

Authors

  • David Dyjack DrPH,

    Corresponding author
      David Dyjack, DrPH, 1202 Nichol Hall, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA 92350. E-mail: ddyjack@sph.llu.edu
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    • David Dyjack, DrPH, CIH, is Associate Dean for Public Health Practice at Loma Linda School of Public Health, Loma Linda, CA.

  • Samuel Soret PhD,

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    • Samuel Soret, PhD, is Director, Geographic Information, Analysis, and Technologies Laboratory, at the Loma Linda University School of Public Health, Loma Linda, CA.

  • Lie Chen MSPH,

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    • Lie Chen, MSPH, is a Research Associate, Center for Health Research Consulting Group, at the Loma Linda University School of Public Health, Loma Linda, CA.

  • Rhonda Hwang MPH,

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    • Rhonda Hwang, MPH, is employed by the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health, San Bernardino, CA.

  • Nahid Nazari MD, MPH,

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    • Nahid Nazari, MPH, MD, is a Medical Educator at the Regional Medical Center, Riverside County, CA.

  • Donn Gaede MPH

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    • Donn Gaede, MPH, is Assistant Professor of Health Administration at the Loma Linda University School of Public Health, Loma Linda, CA.


David Dyjack, DrPH, 1202 Nichol Hall, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA 92350. E-mail: ddyjack@sph.llu.edu

Abstract

Published research suggests there is an association between maternal inhalation of common ambient air pollutants and adverse birth outcomes, including an increased risk for preterm delivery, intrauterine growth retardation, small head circumference, low birth weight, and increased rate of malformations. The air pollutants produced by indoor combustion of biomass fuels, used by 50% of households worldwide, have been linked to acute lower respiratory infections, the single most important cause of mortality in children under the age of 5. This report describes a hypothesis-generating study in West Wollega, Ethiopia, conducted to assess airborne particulate matter concentrations in homes that combust biomass fuels (biomass homes). Respirable suspended particulate matter was measured in biomass homes and nonbiomass homes using NIOSH method 0600. Measured airborne particulate concentrations in biomass homes were up to 130 times higher than air quality standards. These findings, in part, confirm that exposure to indoor air pollutants are a major source of concern for mother/child health. Midwives are encouraged to raise awareness, contribute to research efforts, and assist in interventions.

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