To Push Clean Cookstoves, Involve the Cooks, Report Says
Clean cookstoves that burn more efficiently and channel smoke outside could save millions of lives around the world, but only if the cooks themselves are part of the solution, scientists reported on Thursday.
The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (www.cleancookstoves.org), headed by the United Nations Foundation and championed by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, seeks to cut down on indoor air pollution in some of the globe’s poorest countries, where the most common way to cook is on an open fire inside the home.
These household cooking fires contribute to 2 million deaths annually, more than are caused by malaria, according to the World Health Organization, which makes this the leading environmental cause of death.
To help change this, some $150 million to $200 million worth of research needs to be done over the next decade to see that clean cookstoves get into the homes of the women most vulnerable to the hazards of indoor pollution, the scientists wrote in the journal Science.
The research should include examinations of respiratory, cardiovascular and cancer risks as well as such life-cycle concerns as maternal, neonatal and child health, said Dr. William Martin II of the U.S. government’s National Institutes of Health, one of the report’s authors.