Household Air Pollution in Low- and Middle-income Countries: Health Risks and Research Priorities

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Author(s): Martin WJ II, Glass RI, Araj H, Balbus J, Collins FS, Curtis, S, et al.

Year: 2013

PLoS Med 10(6): e1001455. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001455
  • Household air pollution (HAP) from solid fuel (biomass or coal) combustion is the leading environmental cause of death and disability in the world.
  • Many governments, multinational companies and nongovernmental organizations are developing programs to promote access to improved stoves and clean fuels, but there is little demonstrated evidence of health benefits from most of these programs or technologies.
  • A stakeholder meeting hosted by U.S. government sponsors identified research gaps and priorities related to the health effects of HAP and unsafe stoves in seven areas (cancer; infections; cardiovascular disease; maternal, neonatal, and child health; respiratory disease; burns; and ocular disorders) and gaps in four cross-cutting areas that are relevant to research on HAP (exposure and biomarker assessment, women's empowerment, behavioral approaches, and program evaluation).
  • It is vital that researchers partner with implementing organizations and governments to evaluate the impacts of improved stove and fuel programs to identify and share evidence regarding the outcomes of the many implementation programs underway, including the socio-behavioral aspects of household energy use.