Quantifying the Potential Health Impacts of Unvented Combustion in Homes – A Meta-Analysis

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Conference Paper

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While a growing body of scientific literature describes the population health impacts of fossil fuel
production and burning via climate and air pollution pathways, less is known about the health
impacts of indoor combustion. This paper summarizes the results of studies from the last two
decades that investigated the association between exposure to sources of unvented combustion
pollutants in homes and a range of health outcomes. We found gas combustion to be associated
with 6-28% (95% confidence intervals) increased odds of asthma symptoms, 4-51% increased
odds of systemic symptoms, 7-81% increased odds of asthma medication use, and 3-12%
increased risk of mortality. These findings can be used to improve public health, for example, by
informing requirements for improved ventilation and source control, justifying switching to vented
appliances, better regulation of device emissions and quantifying the benefits of electrification
of end-uses. Dose-response relationships between human health, NO 2 exposure, and other by-
products of combustion are not characterized with a high degree of precision. However, there is
clear evidence of a wide range of health effects, even at low levels of exposure. Despite the
various designs, geographic sites, length of follow-up, and study dates, we noted a level of
consistency between the studies within the current meta-analysis, and with previous ones, which
strengthens the level of confidence in our findings.


43rd AIVC-11th TightVent & 9th Venticool Conference, 4-5 October 2023, Copenhagen

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