Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health
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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 45-49

Effectiveness of various ventilation systems in reducing exposure to biomass related particles: A real-life experiment

1 Department of Public Health, Trnava University, Trnava, Slovakia
2 Department of Social Work, Trnava University, Trnava, Slovakia
3 County Public Health Officer, Kwale County, Kenya

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Marek Majdan
Department of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences and Social Work, Trnava University, Univerzitne Namestie 1, Trnava - 91701
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Source of Support: This study was funded by an institutional grant obtained from the Faculty of Health Sciences and Social Work of the Trnava University in Trnava, Slovakia, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.157625

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Background: Exposure to indoor air pollution, in particular particulate matter from biomass-fueled fires, has been identified as a major public health problem. Here, we test the effectiveness of simple ventilation systems in reducing concentrations of particulate matter in a standard experimental kitchen, built of traditional materials in Kenya. Materials and Methods: Continuous sampling for total particles, particulate matter <10 μm and <2.5 μm were sampled in a purpose-built rural kitchen using four ventilation scenarios: no ventilation, open window, open window and chimney and chimney only. The levels of pollutants were recorded and the effectiveness of different ventilation scenarios in reducing the exposure was compared. Results: For each size of particle, any type of ventilation showed a decrease in concentrations (P < 0.001), compared to the unventilated scenario of 70% or more. The lowest concentrations were observed when only a chimney was used; opening a window did not significantly alter the effectiveness of the chimney. Additionally, the changes in pollutant levels over time showed the least variation and lowest mean values when a chimney only was used. Conclusions: Simple ventilation systems, especially installation of a chimney, proved to be effective in significantly decreasing the exposure to biomass fuel-related indoor particulate matter exposure. The application of such technology may help in tackling this important public health issue.

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