Cooking Clean, Saving Lives

The impact of clean-burning stoves on global health.

By Mark Barna|Monday, April 10, 2017
RELATED TAGS: PERSONAL HEALTH
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A woman cooks on an ethanol stove.
Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves

We tend to take our modern gas and electric stoves and ovens for granted, but in many countries, homes have only kerosene or solid-fuel cooking stoves, which can pollute household air. Each year, more than 4 million people die globally of complications from inhaling smoke from these stoves.

In a study on the risks, researchers found that clean ethanol-burning stoves are healthier than traditional units. They monitored 324 healthy pregnant Nigerian women: Half used ethanol stoves, and half used wood or kerosene units. (Researchers encouraged the women to cook in ventilated areas.) In the traditional-stove group, 6.4 percent of the mothers-to-be developed high blood pressure, which is linked to heart disease and other conditions. Just 1.9 percent of women in the clean-burning group developed it, according to the paper in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Several nations still rely heavily on pollution-producing cookstoves. Here are just a few of those countries:

Click to enlarge.
Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves/ekler/Shutterstock
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