Cooking smoke exposure and respiratory symptoms among those responsible for household cooking: A study in Phitsanulok, Thailand

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Cooking smoke affects the health of millions of people worldwide. In Thailand, however, information in regard to household cooking and the effects of cooking smoke is scarce. The objective of this descriptive study was to explore the risk factors and respiratory symptoms in household members responsible for household cooking. Participants from 1,134 rural households in Phitsanulok province, Thailand were randomly selected, using multistage sampling. Data on cooking activities and chronic respiratory problems, and symptoms identified in the past 30 days were collected using a modified questionnaire from the British Medical Research. Most of the participants were women aged over 40 years, who were responsible for food preparation in the household, and who usually cook with vegetable oil, using LPG gas, without a ventilation hood, according to the responses that we received, and our particular knowledge of household cooking facilities in rural areas in Thailand. The most common chronic respiratory symptoms were runny nose (24.5% males, 21.8% females), dyspnea (26.1% females, 19.0% males) and chronic cough (9.2% females, 6.4% males). The most common respiratory symptoms experienced in the past 30 days were having a cold (28.3% females, 18.7% males), coughing (25.5% females, 21.1%, males) and having sputum (13.0% females, 8.2% males). These symptoms were associated with tears while cooking, the number of hours present in the kitchen grilling food, and the number of stir-fried and deep-fried dishes prepared. This study demonstrated that cooking even with a clean fuel can quantitatively increase the risk of respiratory difficulties and symptoms. Since cooking is undertaken in every household in Thailand, this is a serious public health matter that demands more attention.

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Juntarawijit, Y., & Juntarawijit, C. (2019). Cooking smoke exposure and respiratory symptoms among those responsible for household cooking: A study in Phitsanulok, Thailand. Heliyon, 5(5).

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