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Health impacts in South-central Chile due to misuse of wood-burning stoves

Universidad Católica de Temuco

Título Health impacts in South-central Chile due to misuse of wood-burning stoves
Tema Estufas a leña
Contaminación Atmosférica
Uso de leña
Calidad del aire
Salud pública
Descripción After the episode that occurred in London in December
of 1952 in which more than four thousand people
died as a result of acute exposure to atmospheric
contaminants (particulate matter and sulfur dioxide,
principally), there are no doubts that air quality has
an important effect on the health of the population.
Exposure to air and the intake of air and its components
are permanent and obligatory. “We can choose
the water we drink and the food that we eat, but we
cannot choose the air that we breathe.” Given that
a person inhales between 13 and 15 m3 (between
13,000 or 15,000 liters), it is understood that humans
are highly vulnerable to atmospheric pollution.
As is shown in Fig. 1, in many cities in the central
and southern parts of Chile, (Rancagua, Talca, Chillán,
Gran Concepción, Los Angeles, Temuco, Osorno,
Valdivia and Coyhaique) the problem of atmospheric
pollution from particulate matter (PM) exists
[Ministerio del Medio Ambiente, 2011]. This agent
is principally emitted by wood stoves and ovens that
use firewood, due to the bad practices or misuse of
these devices, such as the burning of wet wood (humidity over 25%) in articles of precarious technology,
that are additionally operated in an undesirable manner
(closure of air intakes). Also, the consumption of
firewood is excessive, due to the poor quality or lack
of thermal insulation in homes.
In these same cities, during the winter period, it
is frequent that health centers are collapsed by the
grand number of visits associated with respiratory
and cardiovascular illnesses in children and the elderly,
primarily. However, it is important to ask, “Are
all respiratory illnesses caused by atmospheric pollution?”
As well as, “What percentage is attributable to
poor air quality?” If the concentrations of PM decrease
as a consequence of a Decontamination Plan, will
there be less occurrence of respiratory diseases? This
study has the principle objective of answering these
questions, as well as the explanation of PMs and their
health risks for humans.
Fecha 2015-01-19T12:16:07Z
Tipo Artículo de Revista
Enlace Electronic Journal of Energy & Environment, Vol. 1, Nº 3, 65-71, 2013
Idioma en
Derechos This journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
Fuentes Electronic Journal of Energy & Environment