Children: Reduced growth through coal heating

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Study: coal heating reduces growth of children

If parents heat the apartment with a coal heater, according to a cooperation study of Czech and US researchers, children grow overall more slowly than their peers. On average, the children at the age of three are about 1.3 centimeters smaller than their peers. This is due to pollutants that arise when the stove heating is fired.

According to a study by the University of California at Davis, children grow worse and slower overall when the apartment is heated with coal. The researchers around Rakesh Ghosh describe their study results in the science magazine "Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine". The general conclusion: If parents heat their own homes with fuels, it "harms the health of their children," says the study author Sram from the Institute for Experimental Medicine in Prague. Corresponding data were evaluated as part of a research project. For a total of ten years, doctors observed 1,133 Czech children born between 1994 and 1998. The subjects came from the regions of Teplice and Prachatice.

Pollutants harm children in the womb Even before birth, coal heating is noticeable. Toxic vapors had a negative impact on the health of unborn children during pregnancy. According to study data, the average birth weight was lower. In addition, the scientists were able to observe that the children affected, particularly in preschool age, were more often affected by infectious diseases. "In comparison, the children got sick much more often," said one of the study authors. The most common diseases were respiratory tract infections in the lungs and otitis media. These diseases occurred more frequently in the children observed than in their peers.

Toxic gases are carcinogenic. The researchers see the reasons for this in the toxic vapors emitted by coal heating. Burning solid fuels creates toxic gases that are carcinogenic. These outgoing vapors belong to the category of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. If these vapors are also bound to fine dust, they are absorbed and filtered by the lungs. The hydrocarbons settle in the organism. These pollutants arise primarily from incomplete combustion of wood, charcoal and commercially available charcoal. But other, inadequate fuels are worse than coal. Many people also burn household waste, according to the scientists. Due to the expensive charcoal, many people who have a stove are burning more and more unsuitable garbage residues. This also increases the health burden for children and adults. (sb)

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