School of Public Health; School of Engineering
The Role of Nitrogen Dioxide in Household Air Pollution from Biomass and Gas Cookstoves
Emissions from biomass-fueled cookstoves are the largest environmental contribution to the global burden of disease, responsible for 2.9 million deaths annually. A transition from biomass to liquified-petroleum gas (LPG) cookstoves has been proposed as a global public health intervention. While this transition seems likely to reduce particulate matter and carbon monoxide, very little is known about cookstove-related exposures to nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a known byproduct of biomass combustion and a threat to respiratory health6. Assessing exposure to NO2 from biomass and LPG cookstoves is essential to both understand the public health risks posed by biomass cookstoves and inform the current promotion of LPG as a healthier alternative to biomass fuel.
This study aims to 1) quantify NO2 exposure from biomass cookstoves, 2) examine the exposure-response relationship between biomass-related NO2 exposure and lung function, and 3) assess changes in NO2 exposure after the transition from biomass to LPG cookstoves. To quantify NO2 exposure from biomass cookstoves, we will measure kitchen NO2 concentrations in 100 kitchens with daily biomass use in rural Puno, Peru. To assess the association between NO2 and lung function, we will perform spirometry on 100 women in these same households. To assess the effect of transitioning from biomass to LPG on NO2 exposure, we will longitudinally sample NO2 in 50 households receiving an LPG intervention and 50 households in a control group. This study will contribute critical information regarding the threats to health from biomass cookstoves and the effectiveness of LPG stoves as a global health intervention.