Publications

Sri Lanka Pilot Study to Examine Respiratory Health Effects & Personal PM2.5 Exposures from Cooking Indoors

Sri Lanka PilotA pilot study of indoor air pollution produced by biomass cookstoves was conducted in 53 homes in Sri Lanka to assess respiratory conditions associated with stove type (“Anagi” or “Traditional”), kitchen characteristics (e.g., presence of a chimney in the home, indoor cooking area), and concentrations of personal and indoor particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5). Each primary cook reported respiratory conditions for herself (cough, phlegm, wheeze, or asthma) and for children (wheeze or asthma) living in her household. For cooks, the presence of at least one respiratory condition was significantly associated with 48-h log-transformed mean personal PM2.5 concentration (PR = 1.35; p < 0.001).

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Land use change, fuel use and respiratory health in Uganda

 

Land use change paperThis paper examines how biomass supply and consumption are affected by land use change in Uganda. We find that between 2007 and 2012 there was a 22% reduction in fuelwood sourced from proximate forests, and an 18% increase in fuelwood sourced from fallows and other areas with lower biomass availability and quality. We estimate a series of panel regression models and find that deforestation has a negative effect on total fuel consumed. We also find that access to forests, whether through ownership or proximity, plays a large role in determining fuel use.

 

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A comparative study of human exposures to household air pollution from commonly used cookstoves in Sri Lanka

Solid fuel burning cookstoves are a major source of household air pollution (HAP) and a significant environmental health risk in Sri Lanka. We report results of the first field study in Sri Lanka to include direct measurements of both real-time indoor concentrations and personal exposures of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in households using the two most common stove-types in Sri Lanka.

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A Profile of Biomass Stove Use in Sri Lanka

A large body of evidence has confirmed that the indoor air pollution (IAP) from biomass fuel use is a major cause of premature deaths, and acute and chronic diseases. Over 78% of Sri Lankans use biomass fuel for cooking, the major source of IAP in developing countries. We conducted a review of the available literature and data sources to profile biomass fuel use in Sri Lanka. We also produced two maps (population density and biomass use; and cooking fuel sources by district) to illustrate the problem in a geographical context. The biomass use in Sri Lanka is limited to wood while coal, charcoal, and cow dung are not used. Government data sources indicate poor residents in rural areas are more likely to use biomass fuel.Our profile of Sri Lanka calls for further analytical studies and new innovative initiatives to inform public health policy, advocacy and program interventions to address the IAP problem of Sri Lanka.

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Coarse particulate matter and airborne endotoxin within wood stove homes

Emissions from indoor biomass burning are a major public health concern in developing areas of the world. Less is known about indoor air quality, particularly airborne endotoxin, in homes burning biomass fuel in residential wood stoves in higher income countries. A filter-based sampler was used to evaluate wintertime indoor coarse particulate matter (PM10-2.5) and airborne endotoxin (EU/m3, EU/mg) concentrations in 50 homes using wood stoves as their primary source of heat in western Montana. We investigated number of residents, number of pets, dampness (humidity), and frequency of wood stove usage as potential predictors of indoor airborne endotoxin concentrations.

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The Enabling Environment: Global Guidelines and National Policies for Indoor Air Quality

Enabling Environment ElledgeIndoor air pollution from biomass cooking is a significant contributor to the global burden of disease. To date there is a lack of global guidance on household energy use and health, and there are few national-scale cookstove programs. Where large-scale programming has existed, national cookstove programs have placed emphasis on energy and environment as the most common rationale for these national initiatives. The health dimension of the cookstoves issue has been underrepresented even though indoor air pollution concentrations in developing countries are known to be far above existing World Health Organization air quality guidelines.

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Research Opportunities for Cancer Associated with Indoor Air Pollution from Solid-Fuel Combustion

Research opportunities for CancerIndoor air pollution (IAP) derived largely from the use of solid fuels for cooking and heating affects about 3 billion people worldwide, resulting in substantial adverse health outcomes, including cancer. Women and children from developing countries are the most exposed populations. Our objective was to identify research opportunities regarding IAP and cancer, including research questions that could be incorporated into studies of interventions to reduce IAP exposure. In this commentary, we describe the state of the science in understanding IAP and its associations with cancer and suggest research opportunities for improving our understanding of the issues.

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Health and climate benefits of cookstove replacement options

Health and climate benefits GrieshopThe health and climate impacts of available household cooking options in developing countries vary sharply. Here, we analyze and compare these impacts (health; climate) and the potential co-benefits from the use of fuel and stove combinations. Our results indicate that health and climate impacts span 2 orders of magnitude among the technologies considered. Indoor air pollution is heavily impacted by combustion performance and ventilation; climate impacts are influenced by combustion performance and fuel properties including biomass renewability.

 

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Preferences for improved cookstoves: Evidence from rural villages in north India

Jeuland preferencesBecause emissions from solid fuel burning in traditional stoves impact global climate change, the regional environment, and household health, there is today real interest in improved cook stoves (ICS). Nonetheless, surprisingly little is known about what households like about these energy products. We report on preferences for biomass-burning ICS attributes in a large sample of 2120 rural households in north India, a global hotspot for biomass fuel use and the damages that such use entails.These results suggest that households exhibit cautious interest in some aspects of ICS, but that widespread adoption is unlikely because many households appear to prefer traditional stoves over ICS with similar characteristics.

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Piloting Improved Cookstoves in India

Lewis pilotingDespite the potential of improved cookstoves (ICS) to reduce the adverse environmental and health impacts of solid fuel use, their adoption and use remains low. Social marketing – with its focus on the marketing mix of promotion, product, price, and place – offers a useful way to understand household behaviors and design campaigns to change biomass fuel use. We report on a series of pilots across three Indian states that use different combinations of the marketing mix. When given a choice amongst products, households strongly preferred an electric stove over improved biomass-burning options. Among different stove attributes, reduced cooking time was considered most valuable by those adopting a new stove. Households clearly identified price as a significant barrier to adoption, while provision of discounts (e.g., rebates given if households used the stove) or payments in installments were related to higher purchase.

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The economics of household air pollution

Economics of HAP

Traditional energy technologies and consumer products contribute to household well-being in diverse ways but also often harm household air quality. We review the problem of household air pollution at a global scale, focusing particularly on the harmful effects of traditional cooking and heating. Drawing on the theory of household production, we illustrate the ambiguous relationship between household well-being and adoption of behaviors and technologies that reduce air pollution.

 

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How do People in Rural India Perceive Improved Stoves and Clean Fuel? Evidence from Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand

Bhojvaid perceptionsImproved cook stoves (ICS) have been widely touted for their potential to deliver the triple benefits of improved household health and time savings, reduced deforestation and local environmental degradation, and reduced emissions of black carbon, a significant short-term contributor to global climate change. Yet diffusion of ICS technologies among potential users in many low-income settings, including India, remains slow, despite decades of promotion. This paper explores the variation in perceptions of and preferences for ICS in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, as revealed through a series of semi-structured focus groups and interviews from 11 rural villages or hamlets.

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