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Biomass Smoke Is a Risk Factor for COPD

Exposure linked to more than doubled risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

TUESDAY, July 6 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to biomass smoke -- from wood and other forms of biomass, such as animal dung and crop residues -- is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to research published in the July issue of Chest.

Guoping Hu, M.D., of Guangzhou Medical University in China, and colleagues analyzed 15 epidemiologic (11 cross-sectional and four case control) studies to determine the relationship between biomass smoke and COPD.

Compared to individuals not exposed to biomass smoke, the researchers found that those exposed to biomass smoke had an odds ratio (OR) of 2.44 for developing COPD. They found that exposure to biomass smoke was a risk factor for COPD in men (OR, 4.30) and women (OR, 2.73), as well as in the Asian population (OR, 2.31) and the non-Asian population (OR, 2.56). In addition, biomass smoke exposure was found to be a risk factor for the development of chronic bronchitis (OR, 2.57), as well as a significant risk factor for development of COPD in cigarette smokers (OR, 4.39) and non-cigarette smokers (OR, 2.55).

"Our meta-analysis suggests that biomass smoke is associated with an increase in the risk of COPD," the authors write. "Given the high prevalence of biomass smoke, especially in rural areas, the public health consequences of biomass smoke with regard to COPD are important and suggest that COPD incidence could be reduced by interventions targeting biomass smoke."

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