- Biomass fuel is a common cooking fuel in India
- Majority of the biomass fuel users are unaware of its health risks
- A new study reveals that smoke from biomass fuel increases low birth weight changes in newborn babies
- It can also lead to low head circumference, neonatal deaths, etc.
- Study recommends preventive police all over the world
Analysis of various data had revealed that smoke from biomass fuel was the major culprit in this increasing incidence of respiratory disorders among women in India and other developing countries.
Here, a new research study has revealed that the exposure to smoke from biomass fuel by pregnant women increases the risk of low birth weight in newborn babies. Biomass fuels are organic materials used for producing energy. Wood, kerosene, cow dung, etc. are used in different parts of the world as cooking fuel.
The study conducted by a team of scholars from Department of Occupational Medicine, Regional Occupational Health Center, West Bengal, All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health and Calcutta Medical College, West Bengal, observed the health of pregnant women and neonatal babies in a hospital between March 2014 and December 2015.
As per the research, compared to other fuel users, the newborn babies from the biomass fuel users’ families experience low birth weights, lesser head circumference, neonatal death, less developed genitals and deficient reflexes. The study observed that biomass fuel usage had significant relation with low birth weight of the newborn baby. It was also found that majority of them had to admit the babies in neonatal care units. The study also found out that the education level of mothers too had an impact on the neonatal outcome.
As per statistics, biomass fuel contributes around 5-6 percent of the national burden of disease. According to World Health Organization’s statistics in 2010, around 58 percent of Indian population used biomass fuel for cooking. The recent study also found out that around 68 percent of the participants were unaware of the health risks of smoke from biomass fuel.
The researchers recommended effective preventive policy to be drafted in all the developing countries so as to save coming generation from such health risks. The study also helps in formulating alternative methods to biomass fuel users in the country in addition to the existing plans. It also suggests focusing on giving higher education for rural women which can have a positive impact on the particular issue of the health of newborn babies.