Women are exposed to smoke for several hours each day (BP40, Practical Action)
More than half the world’s population still depend on solid fuels (coal, wood, agriculturalresidues etc.) to meet their energy needs (WHO 2008). Using solid fuels on traditional open fires results in high levels of IndoorAirPollution resulting in 1.6 million deaths per year (one death every 20 seconds). This is higher than the number of deaths caused by malaria each year (WHO 2002).

Cooking on traditional open and three-stone fires results in large amounts of smoke being produced containing carcinogenic particulates and carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is produced due to the incomplete combustion of fuel, levels of carbon monoxide up to 20 times higher than acceptable WHO guidelines have been recorded as emissions from these traditional cooking methods. A further health risk from cooking methods particularly open fires which are not contained is burns. Women and children are most at risk from poor indoor air quality (IAQ) and burns as women carry out most of the cooking, whilst small children remain close to their mothers. 59% of all indoor pollution-attributed deaths fall on females whilst 56% occur in children under 5 years of age.

Indoor air pollution is responsible for 2.7% of the global burden for disease. The ImpactsOfPoorIAQ are respiratory illness including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cancer, tuberculosis, perinatal outcomes including low birth weight, and eye diseases.

IndoorAirPollutionandHealth (IAP) is a major problem and reducing air pollution is critical for achieving the MDGs (see HowToReduceIndoorAirPollutants). It affects child mortality (MDG 4) and gender equality (MDG 3). In 2006 The 14th session of the Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD14) took place in New York, WHO, GTZ, the Partnership for Clean Indoor Air, Practical Action and the US Environmental Protection Agency organised a joint side event entitled "4000 deaths a day from cooking fires? Lets prevent them!". The aim being make a case for the urgent need to improve access to household energy among the poor. This was followed up a year later at CSD15.

It is evident that immediate and ongoing action is required to address indoor air pollution. However, it is important that we act EnsuringSustainability in order to meet the users needs and providing long term solutions addressing the health and financing needs of the user as well as considering environmental impact and marketing issues for the alternative technology proposed.

Links to information about HouseholdSmokeMonitoring provides information based on work by Practical Action in how to effectively reduce smoke emissions.

Further Resources:

Name Type
Southern Asia: 'Brown clouds' the result of burning biomass
''An extract taken from SciDev Net reports on the effects burning biomass is having on climate and health in Southern Asia.''
Stoking up a cookstove revolution: an Ashden Awards Research Report
Fighting climate change & improving the health of the world’s poorest people are often seen as competing priorities. Yet some technologies address both tasks. One technology is among the cheapest: i
Stoves help keep Darfur's women out of harm's way
From CNN, Washington; "In Sudan's Darfur region, where violence and genocide are rampant, women risk their lives every day performing tasks as seemingly mundane as seeking out firewood."
StoveTec - Introducing the Greenfire portable cookstove
GreenFire(TM) high-tech portable cook stoves were developed by [[User: Larry Winiarski|Dr Larry Winiarski]] at the [[Aprovecho Research Center]], located near Eugene, Oregon.
Summary report of ETHOS Stove Camp, August 3-7, 2009
Forty three folks attended Stove Camp this year coming from as far away as Norway, Germany, Honduras, and Mexico. The theme this year constellated around health issues.
SunFire Solutions, South Africa Newsletter
Welcome to SunFire Solutions first newsletter.
Tackling poverty, global health & energy issues in Kerala, India
In this article we look at the integrated approach Green Microfinance are taking to "alleviate poverty and address global health & energy issues in India".
Tanzania: Charcoal a Dirty Trade-Off
One hundred million tonnes of charcoal are produced annually in Tanzania, resulting in nine million tonnes of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere.
Tanzania: NGO introduces fuel-saving stoves in local market
A non-governmental organisation, E+Co, plans to introduce new cooking stoves and water filtration technologies in Tanzania in a mission to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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  • A practitioner's journal on household energy, stoves and poverty reduction.

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