Research ArticleENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES

Residential solid fuel emissions contribute significantly to air pollution and associated health impacts in China

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Science Advances  28 Oct 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 44, eaba7621
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba7621

Abstract

Residential contribution to air pollution–associated health impacts is critical, but inadequately addressed because of data gaps. Here, we fully model the effects of residential energy use on emissions, outdoor and indoor PM2.5 concentrations, exposure, and premature deaths using updated energy data. We show that the residential sector contributed only 7.5% of total energy consumption but contributed 27% of primary PM2.5 emissions; 23 and 71% of the outdoor and indoor PM2.5 concentrations, respectively; 68% of PM2.5 exposure; and 67% of PM2.5-induced premature deaths in 2014 in China, with a progressive order of magnitude increase from sources to receptors. Biomass fuels and coal provided similar contributions to health impacts. These findings are particularly true for rural populations, which contribute more to emissions and face higher premature death risks than urban populations. The impacts of both residential and nonresidential emissions are interconnected, and efforts are necessary to simultaneously mitigate both emission types.

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