In recent decades, the rapid development of the global economy has brought about a huge increase in household energy consumption (Zhu et al., 1983; Yu et al., 2020). Household energy sources have turned diversified, and the traditional solid fuels such as firewood and other raw biomass have evolved into clean-energy sources such as solar energy and biogas (Wang et al., 2015; Wu et al., 2019; Yu et al., 2020). According to the latest data from the WHO, 63% of household energy consumption is provided by solid fuel, and the other 37% is clean energy (WHO, 2021). More than 2 billion people still rely on traditional biomass fuels to meet their daily energy needs. It is common knowledge that household energy consumption is an essential source of air pollution (Peabody et al., 2005), especially traditional solid fuels. Cooking fuels produce harmful gases and airborne particles, leading to household air pollution, which affects residents’ health. Straw burning, for example, produces particulate matter pollution and causes cardiorespiratory diseases; a 10 µg/m³ increase in PM2.5 concentration increases mortality by 3.25% (He et al., 2020). Household air pollution from solid fuels is hence a major contributor to global burden of disease and a main obstacle to improving living standards (Carter et al., 2017). Despite use of various ventilation techniques during cooking, cooking-associated pollution still increases the risk of diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, tuberculosis (Rehfuess et al., 2009 Kim et al., 2015; Balmes, 2019; Yu et al., 2020), respiratory ailments (Sapkota et al., 2013 Yasar et al., 2017; Qiu et al., 2019) and cardiovascular disease (Yasar et al., 2017; Yu et al., 2018; Arku et al., 2018ab; Qiu et al., 2019; Balmes, 2019; Li et al., 2020; Liu et al., 2020; Tian et al., 2021). In addition, air pollution exerts adverse effects on eye health and burns (Das et al., 2017), cognitive abilities (Qiu et al., 2019), contributes to all-cause death rates (Yu et al., 2018; Yu et al., 2020), premature death rates and disability-adjusted lifespan (Fischer, 2001; Chen et al., 2018). These impacts or losses are especially disastrous for vulnerable groups, such as women, children, seniors (Mishra, 2003; Dionisio et al., 2010; Agrawal et al., 2015; Qiu et al., 2019) and low-income countries or groups (Pant, 2012; Oguonu et al., 2018; Clasen et al., 2019).
According to the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) 2018, solid cooking fuels account for approximately 1.6 million deaths worldwide, as they produce air pollution during cooking (GBD 2017 Risk Factor Collaborators, 2018; Yu et al., 2020). Indoor air pollution is a major health problem in developing and low-income countries (Quinn et al., 2018; Silwal and McKay, 2015; Oguonu et al., 2018; Sidhu et al., 2017; Balmes, 2019). The importance of household air pollution as a public health threat varies drastically in accordance with the level of development: in low- and middle-income countries, household air pollution is responsible for almost 10% of mortality; globally, it is liable for 7.7% of mortality (WHO, 2021). Households in China, specifically, consume a huge amount of energy. Most of China’s energy is still based on solid fuels (64% and 18% of household energy consumption is solid fuel in rural and urban areas, respectively, WHO, 2021). The household air pollution is a serious issue, especially in underdeveloped and rural areas (Wang et al., 2015; Oguonu et al., 2018; Wu et al., 2019). Thousands of people are constantly exposed to indoor pollution at concentrations exceeding both domestic and international standards (Fischer, 2001). However, little attention is paid on the potential impact of household air pollution on health in China (Tao et al., 2014). Of particular interest is the health risk due to household air pollution from cooking fuel. Residents are exposed to this pollution regularly and systematically, so the observations in resident tracking surveys can be used to discern the relationship between cooking-induced household air pollution and health status (Nadimi and Tokimatsu, 2018; Wang et al., 2019; Taghizadeh-Hesary et al., 2020).
Residents can bring down ambient pollution by adding ventilation equipment, installing air conditioners or air purifiers, to reduce associated health risks (Hänninen et al., 2013). When cooking with liquefied petroleum gas, PM concentrations vary greatly depending on the location of the kitchen, fuel usage rate, and ventilation rate (Begum et al., 2009; Hänninen et al., 2013; Thomas et al., 2015). Good ventilation equipment can reduce household air pollution effectively and convert cooking fuel with low cleanliness (causing high household air pollution) into medium or high cleanliness (causing low household air pollution).
The contribution of this this research lies in three respects First, while most studies on cooking-fuel pollution hazards focus on the effects on all-cause death, morbidity and mortality of cardiovascular disease due and respiratory ailments, little discussion circle around the impact of household air pollution on self-evaluated health and mental health for individuals. The potential relationship between household air pollution and the evaluation of health indicators remains unknown. Second, most studies focus on developed countries or some developing countries, paying little attention to China, a country with large economic differences among its regions. Few studies have given thought to the effect of how health outcomes due to household air pollution exposure differ between people in dissimilar regions and with different income levels. The relationship between income, household air pollution and health still calls for further heed. Finally, previous studies focused on the health effects of household air pollution. Residents’ ability to avoid polluted household air remains an open question, as a result of the limitation of data availability. It is arduous to develop prospective countermeasures because the effectiveness of pollution-avoidance behaviors is rarely investigated, like the behavior of using air purifier or cleaner cooking fules.
We use CFPS data from 2012 to 2019 to construct indicators for household air pollution caused by cooking fuel, residents’ health indicators, and income indicators, as well as demographic indicators such as gender and age. Subsequently we discuss the relationship of household air pollution (caused by cooking fuel) on these health indicators to construct two indicators—exposure and cleanliness—based on the cooking fuel indicators. We deal with the relationship of these exposure and cleanliness indicators with residents’ health. Stratified regression and a dummy-variable regression model are used to discuss the relationship of income with household air pollution and residents’ health. Ultimately, a conclusion is drawn that differences in cooking fuels have a range of impacts on the health of residents.