While the debate as to which is the weaker sex will most probably go on till the end of time, a new study has provided results suggesting that, irrespective of the innate differences, females might be more prone to suffering from the effects of air pollution because of conventional cooking habits. The scientific paper, authored by researchers in Canada, was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The findings indicated that women might be facing an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases because of black carbon pollutants emitted from wood smoke.
The authors noticed that the one country with an extremely high level of air pollution is China: noxious gases released from industrial and household activities bring pollution to another level there. Practically half of the homes in China make use of biomass and coal fuels for cooking and heating purposes on a daily basis. The researchers analysed the effects of black carbon pollutants on those women who adhere to rudimentary ways of cooking using traditional wood stoves. They did so by measuring the daily exposure of 280 women to the air pollutants. The participants were chosen from Yunnan province. Air samples of what the 280 women breathe in were taken to be examined. Additionally, personal details about them were also recorded, such as blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), nearness to highways, and physical activity.
The irony of the situation is that while the rural homes still use wood and coal fuels for cooking accounting for air pollution, the industrial and motor vehicle pollution result from the expanding economy of the country.
The results which were generated from the experiments showed that black carbon pollutant was the greatest reason behind fluctuations in blood pressure which ultimately result in heart diseases. Black carbon is not only detrimental to the environment, contributing to global warming, but it also affects the health of people. Furthermore, those women living nearer to highways had BPs three times higher than those who lived further from the highways.
The authors have not only analysed the effects of the pollutants but they have also suggested remedial measures. They purported that policies formulated to lower pollution by substituting wood stoves and by decreasing traffic pollution could improve the situation both for the environment and for the health of the public.