Domestic dung fires are not safe

Skip to Navigation

Blog Post

  • Published: Nov 5, 2013
  • Author: Steve Down
  • Channels: Base Peak / Raman / X-ray Spectrometry / MRI Spectroscopy / Infrared Spectroscopy / NMR Knowledge Base / Atomic / Chemometrics & Informatics / Proteomics / UV/Vis Spectroscopy

View comments on this post

We Westerners tend to look at cow dung as something to be avoided, especially when talking a walk in the country. But for people in some developing countries, dung is essential to daily life. Its easy access and high heating power make it an attractive domestic fuel for cooking and heating. However, it comes with a major drawback. Dung is often burned in traditional open stoves without a proper ventilation system, so is associated with a lot of indoor air pollution and a team of scientists from the Republic of Korea has recently estimated just how much.

Under controlled conditions in the lab, they burnt dried dung from cows that had been fed on grass, as described in Environmental Science and Technology. The emission of particulate matter was extremely high during the initial combustion period then fell significantly during cooking. Particulates are known to cause lung and respiratory problems and the team estimated that the emission rates were large enough to produce significant indoor pollution.

In addition to the particulates, about 40 volatile organic compounds were detected by GC/MS. They included significant concentrations of acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, benzene and toluene. The levels of benzene, which is a known carcinogen, could exceed occupational exposure limits, especially in a room without ventilation.

As long as there remains no alternative domestic fuel, programs should be rolled out in countries where dung burning is common to educate people on the dangers and how best to avoid its ill effects, with adequate ventilation top of the list. 

Comments

There are currently no comments on this post.

Comment Form

You have to log in to comment on this post.

Log in using the form at the top of the page or register here.

Social Links

Share This Links

Bookmark and Share

Microsites

Suppliers Selection
Societies Selection

Banner Ad

Click here to see
all job opportunities

Most Viewed

Copyright Information

Interested in separation science? Visit our sister site separationsNOW.com

Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All Rights Reserved