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Pediatría (Asunción)

On-line version ISSN 1683-9803


TRONCOSO, Karin et al. Respiratory illnesses due to the use of firewood and charcoal in paraguayan communities. Pediatr. (Asunción) [online]. 2018, vol.45, n.1, pp.45-52. ISSN 1683-9803.


The use of solid fuels is associatedwith more than 4 million premature deaths annually in the world, especially in women and children. The use of charcoal and firewood is still very prevalent in Paraguay, where 21% of the urban population and 71% of the rural population use these fuels for cooking.


To describe the use of energy in the homes of two communities in Paraguay, a semi-urban and a rural one.

Material and Methods:

This was a descriptive and cross-sectional study that was carried out by means of a survey in 250 randomly selected households.


The analysis of the data obtained showed that more than 74% of households used charcoal, either as a primary or a secondary fuel. Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) was more commonly used in the semi-urban community (59%> 43%) and firewood was more used in the rural community (49.6%> 22.8%). The use of firewood implies a longer time for the collection, preparation and cooking of food. The use of firewood and charcoal was predominantly outdoors ( 84 % of households) in kitchens without a fireplace. A higher prevalence of respiratory diseases was found in households that used charcoal or firewood (45%> 29%). The use of electricity for cooking was not very prevalent (only 7% used it as the main fuel).


The prevalence of the use of charcoal and wood in homes was high and has repercussions on collective health and favors the conditions of social inequality in the country. We suggest that promotion of electricity for cooking would be a viable clean alternative, because the country has large hydroelectric resources and the electric network covers almostthe entire population(99%).

Keywords : Solid fuels; health perceptions; LPG; rural; semi-urban.

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