Exposure to mosquito coil smoke may be a risk factor for lung cancer

A recent Indian study highlighted the presence of carcinogenic Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
(PAHs)  in the emissions, indicating the potential risks associated with the inhalation of coil smoke.

Another potent lung carcinogen called bischloromethyl ether (BCME), has also been reported by researchers based in the US.

A case control study based in Taiwan, where mosquito coil usage has high prevalence as in India, proved that smoke from mosquito coils may be a risk factor for lung cancer. This study stemmed out of the observation that about 50% of lung cancer deaths in Taiwan are not related to cigarette smoking.

Mosquito coil smoke exposure was more frequent in lung cancer patients than controls (38.1% vs.17.8%; p < 0.01). Risk of lung cancer was significantly higher in frequent burners of mosquito coils (more than 3 times per week) than nonburners (adjusted odds ratio = 3.78; 95% confidence interval- 1.55-6.90). Those who seldom burned mosquito coils (less than 3 times per week) also had a significantly higher risk of lung cancer (adjusted odds ratio = 2.67; 95% confidence interval- 1.60-4.50).
This shows that mosquito coils used widely, even in urban households in India present a significant risk of developing lung cancer. As per the current practice, mosquito coils are freely marketed in India and there is no warning issued for regular consumers on its health risks.

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