Indoor air pollution

Household (Indoor) Air Pollution

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Around 3 billion people cook and heat their homes using solid fuels (i.e. wood, charcoal, coal, dung, crop wastes) on open fires or traditional stoves. Such inefficient cooking and heating practices produce high levels of household (indoor) air pollution which includes a range of health damaging pollutants such as fine particles and carbon monoxide.

In poorly ventilated dwellings, smoke in and around the home can exceed acceptable levels for fine particles 100-fold. Exposure is particularly high among women and young children, who spend the most time near the domestic hearth.

According to WHO, 4.3 million people a year die from the exposure to household air pollution.

WHO’s Programme on Household Air Pollution

To combat this substantial and growing burden of disease, WHO has developed a comprehensive programme to support developing countries. WHO's Programme on Household Air Pollution focuses on:

All photographs with permission of Nigel Bruce, University of Liverpool


WHO guidelines for indoor air quality: household fuel combustion

Health in the Green Economy:
household energy


Julia Roberts, Ambassador for Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves

Indoor Air Quality Guidelines: selected pollutants

Clean household energy for all


Burden of disease

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Information material


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Fact sheets,
press releases, presentations

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Other web sites on indoor air pollution




Partnership for Clean Indoor Air

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WHO's Programme on Indoor Air Pollution

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