Regularly using kerosene or diesel for cooking, heating or lighting may increase the risk of heart attack and early death, a new study warns.
Researchers followed more than 50,000 people in Iran, to assess the effects of indoor air pollution caused by burning kerosene, wood, diesel, cow dung and natural gas. The participants’ average age at the start of the study was 52, and 80 percent lived in rural areas.
Over 10 years, those who burned kerosene or diesel had a 6 percent higher risk of dying from all causes, an 11 percent higher risk of heart-related death, and a 14 percent higher risk of heart disease, the study found.
Compared to those who used other fuels, people who used natural gas had a 6 percent lower risk of heart-related death, according to the study.
“We know that smoking tobacco products and outside air pollution are linked to heart disease death,” said lead researcher Dr. Sumeet Mitter, a cardiovascular disease fellow at Northwestern University in Chicago.
“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,” Mitter added.
The study only found an association, however, not a cause-and-effect relationship between these fuels and heart disease and deaths.
The findings were published June 13 in the journal Circulation.
Half the world’s population burns fuels for lighting, cooking and heating, according to the World Health Organization.
“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,” Mitter said in a journal news release.
The World Health Organization has more about indoor air pollution.