WOMEN & CHILDREN
The highest rates of exposure to indoor air pollution fall on women and young children, who spend the most time in the home around the open fire: 3 to 7 hours per day over the course of many years.
A recent study by the World Health Organization determined that the impact of such smoke inhalation for these women and young children is equivalent to smoking 40 cigarettes a day.
Indoor air pollution has been linked to low birth weight in a study by the National Institute of Health. For these children, the complications of their low birth weight can lead to serious health problems throughout the course of their lives, including diabetes and other chronic diseases.
Women and young girls spend four or more hours per day collecting wood. This often keeps young girls from school and women from other income-generating activities.
Traveling many miles on foot to collect fuel, women are also exposed to sexual assault and violence. For example, in Uganda 20 percent of reported sexual assaults against women occur while they are collecting firewood for cooking.