Scientists Tell Why it is Dangerous to Cook With Wood and Coal

It turns out that under a certain set of circumstances, it is dangerous to cook with wood and coal, according to a new study by British and Chinese scientists.

Researchers have found a clear link between cooking with solid fuels and dangerous eye diseases that can lead to blindness.

Researchers from the University of Oxford in the UK and Peking University in China analyzed data from nearly half a million Chinese adults who completed a survey on eating habits. Experts also followed the participants’ subsequent hospitalization for serious eye diseases.

Over the ten-year observation period, the study participants had 4877 cases of conjunctival diseases, 13408 cases of cataracts, 1583 cases of diseases of the sclera, cornea, iris, and ciliary body (DSCIC), and 1534 cases of glaucoma.

Compared to those who cooked with electricity or gas, solid fuel (wood or coal) users tended to be older women, rural residents, agricultural workers, and smokers.

Taking these factors into account, it was found that prolonged use of solid fuels for cooking was associated with an increased risk of conjunctivitis, cataracts, and DSCIC by 32%, 17%, and 35%, respectively. At the same time, there was no association between the long-term use of solid fuels and an increased risk of glaucoma.

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Written by Emma Miller

I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.

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