Effects on the Female Reproductive System of Air Pollution Produced by the Use of Wood Combustion for Residential Heating: Challenges and Perspectives of Morphological Studies

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Paulo Salinas


Previous studies have shown that air pollution affects cardio-respiratory function, but its role regarding reproductive processes is unknown. There are few experimental background studies on its effects on the morpho-function in the reproductive system. The use of wood combustion for residential heating (WCRH) in the cities of south-central Chile has increased significantly. As a result, it has become a source of significant emissions of particulate matter suspended (PM) in the air. The possible association between exposure to PM and reproductive problems has been suggested only on the basis of epidemiological studies, most of them carried out in environments where the main source of PM emission is the combustion of oil by motorized vehicles and industries, ignoring the effects produced by the smoke of WCRH. For example, in the city of Temuco-Padre Las Casas, Chile, 93 % of PM emissions correspond to WCRH smoke, thus being considered an urban area with a single PM emission source and the factors that contribute to this type of contamination are reasonably representative of most of the cities in south-central Chile. We therefore suggest this as an adequate setting to evaluate the real effect of the environmental contamination produced by the smoke of WCRH in the reproductive system. The limited number of studies reported on the effects of this type of emission on the female reproductive system, present a challenge for the morphological sciences and also for those who make decisions that affect public health.

KEY WORDS: Air Pollution; Reproductive System; WCRH; Uterus.

How to cite this article

SALINAS, P. Effects on the female reproductive system of air pollution produced by the use of wood combustion for residential heating: Challenges and perspectives of morphological studies. Int. J. Morphol., 36(2):623-628, 2018.