The use of refined fossil fuels--especially kerosene, which is sometimes used for heating, cooking, and as a light source--may cause sniffling, wheezing, itching, and other allergy symptoms. Although the exact mechanism is unclear, researchers speculate that the fuels may somehow irritate the nasal lining and set the stage for an inflammatory or allergic response.
The researchers studied the effects of kerosene, gasoline, and electricity on about 960 people. They have identified strong, positive associations between allergic skin sensitization and allergic symptoms and the domestic use of modern fuels for cooking and heating, particularly from kerosene and to a lesser degree gas. The exposure to these pollutants could play a major role in the emergence of allergic diseases in both developing and developed countries.