Indoor Air Pollution and Cognitive Function Among Older Chinese

Min Li
Barbara Zsembik, University of Florida

Background. We examine the negative effects from combustion of solid fuels of indoor air pollution (IAP) on cognitive function among older adults in China.Neurotoxic elements released from solid fuel combustion include particulate matter, gaseous elements, and metals. Methods. We analyzed data from a national sample of older adults (CHARLS, Chinese Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study) with multilevel regression models. Results. More than half of older Chinese rely primarily on coal or biomass for household cooking or heating. We found that use of biomass for heating or cooking is associated with poorer memory, mental status, and global cognitive functioning. Also, we found that use of coal for heating is associated with poorer memory. Conclusion. IAP is an important but modifiable risk factor for poor cognitive functioning among older Chinese. Public health efforts should be made to reduce IAP with increased access to clean household fuels.

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 Presented in Session 6. Health & Mortality & Aging