Navajo coal combustion and respiratory health near shiprock, New Mexico

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Indoor air pollution has been identified as a major risk factor for acute and chronic respiratory diseases throughout the world. In the sovereign Navajo Nation, an American Indian reservation located in the Four Corners area of the USA, people burn coal in their homes for heat. To explore whether/how indoor coal combustion might contribute to poor respiratory health of residents, this study examined respiratory health data, identified household risk factors such as fuel and stove type and use, analyzed samples of locally used coal, and measured and characterized fine particulate airborne matter inside selected homes. In twenty-five percent of homes surveyed coal was burned in stoves not designed for that fuel, and indoor air quality was frequently found to be of a level to raise concerns. The average winter 24-hour PM2.5 concentration in 20 homes was 36.0 μ g/ m3 . This is the first time that PM2.5 has been quantified and characterized inside Navajo reservation residents' homes.




Bunnell, J. E., Garcia, L. V., Furst, J. M., Lerch, H., Olea, R. A., Suitt, S. E., & Kolker, A. (2010). Navajo coal combustion and respiratory health near shiprock, New Mexico. Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 2010.

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