By Ariadna Curto, David Donaire-Gonzalez, Maria N. Manaca, Raquel González, Charfudin Sacoor, Ioar Rivashi, Mireia Gascon, Gregory A. Wellenius, Xavier Querol, Jordi Sunyer, Eusébio Macete, Clara Menéndez, Cathryn Tonne
Environmental International, To be published October 2019
Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has the highest proportion of people using unclean fuels for household energy, which can result in products of incomplete combustion that are damaging for health. Black carbon (BC) is a useful marker of inefficient combustion-related particles; however, ambient air quality data and temporal patterns of personal exposure to BC in SSA are scarce. We measured ambient elemental carbon (EC), comparable to BC, and personal exposure to BC in women of childbearing age from a semi-rural area of southern Mozambique. We measured ambient EC over one year (2014–2015) using a high-volume sampler and an off-line thermo-optical-transmission method. We simultaneously measured 5-min resolved 24-h personal BC using a portable MicroAeth (AE51) in 202 women. We used backwards stepwise linear regression to identify predictors of log-transformed 24-h mean and peak (90th percentile) personal BC exposure. We analyzed data from 187 non-smoking women aged 16–46 years. While daily mean ambient EC reached moderate levels (0.9 μg/m3, Standard Deviation, SD: 0.6 μg/m3), daily mean personal BC reached high levels (15 μg/m3, SD: 19 μg/m3). Daily patterns of personal exposure revealed a peak between 6 and 7 pm (>35 μg/m3), attributable to kerosene-based lighting. Key determinants of mean and peak personal exposure to BC were lighting source, kitchen type, ambient EC levels, and temperature. This study highlights the important contribution of lighting sources to personal exposure to combustion particles in populations that lack access to clean household energy.
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