Household energy, indoor air pollution and child respiratory health in South Africa

Brendon Barnes, Angela Mathee, Elizabeth Thomas, Nigel Bruce

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

46 Citations (Scopus)


Indoor air pollution due to the indoor burning of polluting fuels has been associated with Acute Lower Respiratory Infections (ALRI) amongst children less than five years old. This paper reviews evidence of the association between household energy, indoor air pollution and child ALRI in South Africa. Studies show evidence consistent with the international literature with the likelihood of ALRI between 2 and 4 amongst children living in households using polluting fuels compared to households using electricity. Indoor air pollution is responsible for the deaths of up to 1 400 children annually. Interventions have demonstrated 46 - 97% lower pollution concentrations compared to open fires. However, the sustainability of selected interventions has been questioned in certain contexts. The paper discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence and highlights opportunities for further research.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Specialist publicationJournal of Energy in Southern Africa
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Child ARI
  • Household energy
  • Indoor air pollution
  • Interventions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Energy


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