Indoor air pollution in a Mexican indigenous community: Evaluation of risk reduction program using biomarkers of exposure and effect Article uri icon


  • Indoor air pollution can be an important risk factor for human health, considering that people spend more than 60%25 of their time indoors. Fifty percent of the world population and approximately 90%25 of the rural population in developing countries are using biomass as energy source. Latin America represents 12%25 of the global consumption of biomass; in Mexico, 27 million people use wood as an energy source. Therefore, in this study we evaluated a 3-stage risk reduction program. The stages were: 1) removal of indoor soot adhered to roofs and internal walls; 2) paving the dirt floors; and 3) introduction of a new wood stove with a metal chimney that expels smoke outdoors. The complete intervention program was applied. In 20 healthy subject residents from an indigenous community in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, we measured blood carboxyhemoglobin (%25 COHb), DNA damage (comet assay) in nucleated blood cells, and urinary 1-OHP levels before and after the program. Before intervention individuals had a geometric mean COHb level of 4.93%25 and 53%25 of the population presented levels above 2.5%25 considered a safe level. However, in all the studied individuals the levels of COHb were reduced to below 2.5%25 (mean level 1.0%25) one month after the intervention. Moreover, when compared, DNA damage in people exposed before the intervention was higher (5.8 ± 1.3 of Tail Moment) than when the program was introduced (2.8 ± 0.9 of Tail Moment) (P > 0.05) and a same trend was observed with urinary 1-OHP levels; 6.71 ± 3.58 μmol/mol creatinine was the concentration before intervention; whereas, 4.80 ± 3.29 μmol/mol creatinine was the one after the program. The results suggest that the intervention program offers an acceptable risk reduction to those families that use biomass for food cooking. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 2008-01-01