Inefficient cookstoves are linked to 2 million yearly deaths worldwide and pose a public health threat to the world’s poorest people, particularly low-income women and children. Global health advocates are coming together to do something about the problem.
Decades of research into household air pollution have shown that smoke from cookstoves or cooking over open fires increases the risk for a host of health problems, from childhood pneumonia to lung cancer, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Now, an alliance is working to bring improved cookstoves to 100 million households by 2020.
Reaching that goal will require not only continued scientific research but also cooperation across the public health community to give the issue the level of importance devoted to critical public health concerns such as clean water and immunization against infectious diseases.
To continue reading this story from the March 2012 issue of The Nation’s Health, visit the newspaper online.