Heart attack and mortality risk higher with household air pollution. You may not associate your home with pollutants, but they may very well be present there, coming from lighting, cooking, or heating with fuels. The study found that burning cleaner fuels such as natural gas was associated with a lower mortality risk.
Lead researcher Sumeet Mitter explained, “We know that smoking tobacco products and outside air pollution are linked to heart disease death. Our study, using exposure history and time, is the first to find a significant and independent increased risk for all-cause, total cardiovascular disease, and heart attack deaths due to increasing lifetime exposures to household air pollution from kerosene or diesel burning.”
The researchers measured household pollution from burning kerosene, wood, diesel, cow dung, and natural gas. The study involved 50,045 participants who completed lifestyle questionnaires to further measure exposure to these burning fuels.
The researchers found that those who burned kerosene or diesel had a six percent higher risk of dying from all causes during a 10-year period, 11 percent higher risk of cardiovascular death, and a 14 percent increase in ischemic heart disease.
Mitter added, “Since heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, it is important for physicians to assess for a number of modifiable risk factors for heart disease, including household air pollution, so that they can intervene and help patients and communities worldwide transition to cleaner burning fuels and reduce the risk for cardiovascular death.”
“The next step would be to create a study to measure particulate matter to better establish a dose-response relationship between household air pollution and cardiovascular death,” he concluded.
Simple ways to reduce household air pollution
In order to reduce your risk of heart attack or heart disease associated with the exposure to household air pollution, it’s important that you improve your indoor air quality. Simple ways to reduce household air pollution include:
- Keep a normal level of humidity in the home – around 30 to 50 percent – which can be done using a dehumidifier or opening a window, not overwatering houseplants, venting the clothes dryer outdoors, fixing leaky pipes, or emptying drip pans from air conditioner and dehumidifier frequently
- Don’t smoke in your home
- Have your home tested for radon
- Avoid synthetic fragrances like air fresheners or perfumes
- Opt for natural household cleaners
- Remove carpeting if possible
- Use carbon monoxide detectors
- Keep trash covered
- Minimize clutter
- Change air filters
- Dust surfaces and vacuum
- Wash bedding at least once a week
These tips can help you further reduce household pollution to keep your heart safe in the long run.