The Establishment of the Household Air Pollution Consortium (HAPCO)
Household air pollution (HAP) is of public health concern, with 3 billion people worldwide (including >15 million in the US) exposed. HAP from coal use is a human lung carcinogen, yet the epidemiological evidence on carcinogenicity of HAP from biomass use, primarily wood, is not conclusive. To robustly assess biomass's carcinogenic potential, prospective studies of individuals experiencing a variety of HAP exposures are needed. We have built a global consortium of 13 prospective cohorts (HAPCO: Household Air Pollution Consortium) that have site- and disease-specific mortality and solid fuel use data, for a combined sample size of 587,257 participants and 57,483 deaths. HAPCO provides a novel opportunity to assess the association of HAP with lung cancer death while controlling for important confounders such as tobacco and outdoor air pollution exposures. HAPCO is also uniquely positioned to determine the risks associated with cancers other than lung as well as nonmalignant respiratory and cardiometabolic outcomes, for which prospective epidemiologic research is limited. HAPCO will facilitate research to address public health concerns associated with HAP-attributed exposures by enabling investigators to evaluate sex-specific and smoking status-specific effects under various exposure scenarios.