n South African Medical Journal - Relationship between firewood usage and urinary Cr, Cu and As in informal areas of Cape Town : research

Volume 104, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



The study investigated whether wood usage by informal food vendors and household residents in Cape Town results in the absorption of arsenic (As), chromium (Cr) and copper (Cu) owing to release of these metals in the burning of chromated copper arsenate(CCA)-treated wood.

The participants (=78) selected included an equal number of food vendors and non-vendors from 2 informal settlements. All participants answered a questionnaire concerning exposure and were tested for urinary Cr, Cu and As, while the urine of 29 participants was also tested for toxic As (As(tox)).
Multivariate analysis showed that the time spent in close proximity to the wood, as well as the quantity of wood used for cooking and for household use, was weakly positively associated with urinary levels of As, Cr and the sum of As, Cr and Cu.
The study provides evidence that use of wood likely to contain CCA as a fuel for informal food outlets and household purposes may increase the absorption of inorganic As, Cu and Cr.

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