Around the globe, 2.7 billion people depend on biomass fuels — wood, crop waste, grasses, shrubs and dung — to cook with and to heat their homes. But those types of fuels — and the cookstoves on which they are used — produce indoor air pollution that is a major health hazard, particularly to the poor in developing countries.
Scientists at Washington University in St. Louis, including Gautam Yadama, PhD; Pratim Biswas, PhD; and School of Medicine professors Mario Castro, MD, and Ken Schechtman, PhD, have recently received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the issue of efficient stoves, reductions in household air pollution and respiratory health outcomes. The study finds new, improved cookstoves alone might not be enough. The availability and type of fuel also contributes to whether or not the cookstoves are being used.