Health risks associated with the production and usage of charcoal: a systematic review.

IDOWU, Oladipo S., AZEVEDO, Liane, ZOHOORI, Fatemeh Vida, KANMODI, Kehinde and PAK, Tannaz (2023). Health risks associated with the production and usage of charcoal: a systematic review. BMJ open, 13 (7): e065914.

Health risks associated with the production and usage of charcoal a systematic review.pdf - Published Version
Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (732kB) | Preview
Official URL:
Open Access URL: (Published version)
Link to published version::


Charcoal production and utilisation are linked to various health issues and occupational hazards. However, to our knowledge, no systematic review has primarily focused on the health implications of charcoal production and its use while distinguishing charcoal from other solid fuels such as wood and coal.


This systematic review presents a synthesis of the evidence on the health risks associated with producing and using charcoal across the world.


Systematic review using a systematic narrative synthesis approach.

Data sources

MEDLINE (through Ovid interface), CINAHL, Embase, Web of Science, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library and SCOPUS, from inception to 26 February 2021.

Eligibility criteria for selecting studies

Peer-reviewed journal articles reporting empirical findings on the associations between charcoal usage/production and health parameters.

Data extraction and synthesis

Two independent reviewers extracted data and assessed the quality of primary studies.


Our findings showed that charcoal production and usage are linked with specific adverse health outcomes, including respiratory diseases (n=21), cardiorespiratory and neurological diseases (n=1), cancer (n=3), DNA damage (n=3), carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning (n=2), physical injury (n=2), sick house syndrome (n=1), unintentional weight loss and body mass index (BMI) reduction (n=2), increase in blood pressure (n=1) and CO death (n=1). Among the included articles that reported respiratory diseases (n=21), there was one case of asthma and tuberculosis and two cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


This review links charcoal production/usage and some associated human health risks. These include respiratory diseases and other non-respiratory illnesses such as sick-building syndrome, cardiovascular diseases, DNA damage, CO poisoning and death, unintentional weight loss and BMI reduction, and physical injuries.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Humans; Asthma; Carbon Monoxide Poisoning; Carbon Monoxide; Charcoal; Blood Pressure; health policy; human resource management; qualitative research; Humans; Charcoal; Asthma; Blood Pressure; Carbon Monoxide; Carbon Monoxide Poisoning; 1103 Clinical Sciences; 1117 Public Health and Health Services; 1199 Other Medical and Health Sciences; 32 Biomedical and clinical sciences; 42 Health sciences; 52 Psychology
Identification Number:
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2024 11:58
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2024 08:00

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics