Women in Central Mexico who used a vented stove instead of the traditional indoor open fire, experienced improved respiratory health on par with a pack-a-day smoker kicking the habit, according to a recent study.
The study, which analyzed the first year of data in an ongoing project examining the impact of the use of vented stoves over traditional indoor open fires, was reported in the October 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, published by the American Thoracic Society.
An estimated two billion people around the world rely on biomass fuel for cooking, typically over unvented indoor fires. These indoor fires generate high levels of pollutants such as carbon monoxide, particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide. One recent analysis put exposure to indoor biomass smoke among the world's top ten environmental causes of mortality and morbidity.
The "Patsari" stove was designed to address this problem, and has been shown in previous research to reduce indoor air pollution concentrations by an average of 70 percent. However, until now, no research has directly evaluated the health effects on the women who use them.
"We wanted to know whether the Patsari stove would make a measurable difference in the health of people who were actually using it," said Horacio Riojas-Rodrguez, of the Instituto Nacional de Salud Pblica, and researcher on the study.
To do so, Dr. Riojas and colleagues followed women in more than 500 households from Central Mexico, who had been randomized to receive the new Patsari stove at the beginning of the study, or upon its conclusion. Each participant answered a symptom questionnaire at the outset of the study and every month thereafter for ten months. They also underwent an average of four spirometric tests during the study.
Fewer than a third of women assigned to receive the Patsari stove reported "mainly" using it, and another 20 percent reported th
|Contact: Keely Savoie|
American Thoracic Society