Pro-Inflammatory Effects of Cook Stove Emissions on Human Bronchial Epithelial Cells

June 7, 2012 · 0 comments

Indoor Air, June 2012

Pro-Inflammatory Effects of Cook Stove Emissions on Human Bronchial Epithelial Cells

Brie Hawley, John Volckens

Approximately half the world’s population uses biomass fuel for indoor cooking and heating. This form of combustion typically occurs in open fires or primitive stoves. Human exposure to emissions from indoor biomass combustion is a global health concern, causing an estimated 1.5 million premature deaths each year. Many ‘improved’ stoves have been developed to address this concern; however, studies that examine exposure-response with cleaner-burning, more efficient stoves are few.

The objective of this research was to evaluate the effects of traditional and cleaner burning stove emissions on an established model of the bronchial epithelium. We exposed well-differentiated, normal human bronchial epithelial (NHBE) cells to emissions from a single biomass combustion event using either a traditional three-stone fire or one of two energy-efficient stoves. Air-liquid interface cultures were exposed using a novel, aerosol-to-cell deposition system. Cellular expression of a panel of three pro-inflammatory markers was evaluated at 1 and 24 hours following exposure.

Cells exposed to emissions from the cleaner burning stoves generated significantly fewer amounts of pro-inflammatory markers than cells exposed to emissions from a traditional, three stone fire. Particulate matter emissions from each cookstove were substantially different, with the three-stone fire producing the largest concentrations of particles (by both number and mass). This study supports emerging evidence that more efficient cookstoves have the potential to reduce respiratory inflammation in settings where solid fuel combustion is used to meet basic domestic needs.

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