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WHO: Indoor Air Pollution a Major Threat

For VOA Learning English, this is the Health Report.

The World Health Organization says about three billion people use solid fuels for heating and cooking in their homes. The practice creates dangerous indoor air pollution. WHO officials say more than 4.3 million people die from household air pollution a year. Most are in developing countries.

WHO officials say indoor pollution leads to early dearths from stroke, heart and lung disease, childhood pneumonia and lung cancer. Women and girls are the main victims. The WHO says these diseases can often result from high levels of fine particulate matter and carbon monoxide released by burning wood, coal, animal waster, crop waste and charcoal.

Carlos Dora is with the WHO's Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health. He says people should not use unprocessed coal and kerosene fuel indoors. He says opening a window or door to let out the harmful air with not correct the situation. It only will pollute the outdoors.

The United Nations found that more than 95% of households in sub-Saharan Africa depend on solid fuels for cooking. It says huge populations in India, China and Latin American countries, such as Guatemala and Peru, also are at risk. Agency experts says some safe and low-cost technologies are available.

In India, you can buy an induction stove for about $8.00. And in Africa you can buy a solar lamp for less than $1.00. But, this, the agency says, is just a start. It is urging developing countries to use cleaner fuels and increase access to cleaner and more modern cooking and heating equipment.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Carolyn Presutti.