Global Health and Air Pollution

Bangladesh Center for Global Environmental and Occupational Health: A study to evaluate the effects of household air pollution on preclinical measures of cardio-pulmonary dysfunctions and markers of immune dysfunction among non-smoking individuals

Cooking on a traditional cookstove with biomass fuel

Cooking on a traditional cookstove with biomass fuel


Woman in kitchen wearing a small personal exposure measuring device in a bag

Woman in kitchen wearing a small personal exposure measuring device in a bag

The purpose of this research is to evaluate the effects of household air pollution (HAP) caused by biomass burning in traditional cookstoves on cardiovascular and pulmonary function and to assess biomarkers of immune function among non-smoking individuals. We will also evaluate the impact of improved cook stoves on reducing exposure to air pollutants and thereby reducing pre-clinical and molecular measures of cardio-pulmonary and immune dysfunctions. This is a 5-year (2015-2020) collaborative project partnered by York University (Dewan Alam) in Canada, icddr,b (Md. Yunus) and other local partner institutions (Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University and UChicago Research Branch) in Bangladesh and University of Chicago (Habibul Ahsan), USA. The project is funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and approved by the Institutional Review Board of all concerned institutions.

Survey tools have been finalized, all necessary equipment and supplies have been procured, and staff recruitment and training have been completed in Bangladesh where the project is being implemented. Initial cross-sectional study will recruit 600 non-smoking participants aged 25-65 years. Biomass exposure will be assessed for PM2.5, CO and BC by collecting personal air samples for 24-hour and additional 72-hour samples from a subset of 200 participants. A blood sample from the subset of 200 adult participants and 60 children aged 3-5 years will be used to assess immune markers. Following the cross-sectional study an intervention study will be conducted in a subset of 200 homes to evaluate the effectiveness of improved cookstove on HAP and on cardiorespiratory functions and immune biomarkers after two years of intervention. Currently, recruitment of study participants for the cross-sectional study is underway and monitoring of HAP and personal exposure to HAP and bio-specimen collection are in progress.

The following measurements will be performed in the study:

  • Pulmonary function tests (PFT)
  • Post-bronchodilator PFT
  • Reactive hyperemia-peripheral arterial tonometry (RH-PAT): RH-PAT
  • Flow-mediated dilation (FMD):
  • Carotid Intima Media Thickness (IMT)
  • Brachial Artery Dispensability (BAD)
  • EKG
  • Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) collection from peripheral blood:
  • Culture of macrophages and dendritic cells from PBMC
  • T-Cell Functional Assays
  • Functions of monocytes-derived macrophages (MDM) and monocyte-derived dendritic cells (MDDCs):

The project has been funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH), USA (Grant # 1 U01 TW 01012001) for five years from September 01, 2015 – August 31, 2020)