Johnson M.A.,Berkeley Air Monitoring Group Inc. |
Chiang R.A.,Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves
Journal of Health Communication | Year: 2015
Achieving World Health Organization air quality targets and aspirational fuel savings targets through clean cooking solutions will require high usage rates of high-performing products and low usage rates of traditional stoves. Catalyzing this shift is challenging as fuel and stove use practices associated with new technologies generally differ from those used with traditional technologies. Accompanying this shift with ventilation improvements can help further reduce exposure to emissions of health damaging pollutants. Behavior change strategies will be central to these efforts to move users to new technologies and minimize exposure to emissions. In this article, the authors show how behavior change can be linked to quantitative guidance on stove usage, household ventilation rates, and performance. The guidance provided here can help behavior change efforts in the household energy sector set and achieve quantitative goals for usage and ventilation rates. Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
Johnson M.A.,Berkeley Air Monitoring Group Inc. |
Chiang R.A.,Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves
Environmental Health Perspectives | Year: 2015
Background: Displacing the use of polluting and inefficient cookstoves in developing countries is necessary to achieve the potential health and environmental benefits sought through clean cooking solutions. Yet little quantitative context has been provided on how much displacement of traditional technologies is needed to achieve targets for household air pollutant concentrations or fuel savings. Objectives: This paper provides instructive guidance on the usage of cooking technologies required to achieve health and environmental improvements. Methods: We evaluated different scenarios of displacement of traditional stoves with use of higher performing technologies. The air quality and fuel consumption impacts were estimated for these scenarios using a single-zone box model of indoor air quality and ratios of thermal efficiency. Results: Stove performance and usage should be considered together, as lower performing stoves can result in similar or greater benefits than a higher performing stove if the lower performing stove has considerably higher displacement of the baseline stove. Based on the indoor air quality model, there are multiple performance–usage scenarios for achieving modest indoor air quality improvements. To meet World Health Organization guidance levels, however, three-stone fire and basic charcoal stove usage must be nearly eliminated to achieve the particulate matter target (< 1–3 hr/week), and substantially limited to meet the carbon monoxide guideline (< 7–9 hr/week). Conclusions: Moderate health gains may be achieved with various performance–usage scenarios. The greatest benefits are estimated to be achieved by near-complete displacement of traditional stoves with clean technologies, emphasizing the need to shift in the long term to near exclusive use of clean fuels and stoves. The performance–usage scenarios are also provided as a tool to guide technology selection and prioritize behavior change opportunities to maximize impact. © 2015, Public Health Services, US Dept of Health and Human Services. All rights reserved.
Burnett R.T.,Health Canada |
Arden Pope III C.,Brigham Young University |
Ezzati M.,Imperial College London |
Olives C.,University of Washington |
And 18 more authors.
Environmental Health Perspectives | Year: 2014
Background: Estimating the burden of disease attributable to long-term exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in ambient air requires knowledge of both the shape and magnitude of the relative risk (RR) function. However, adequate direct evidence to identify the shape of the mortality RR functions at the high ambient concentrations observed in many places in the world is lacking. Objective: We developed RR functions over the entire global exposure range for causes of mortality in adults: ischemic heart disease (IHD), cerebrovascular disease (stroke), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and lung cancer (LC). We also developed RR functions for the incidence of acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) that can be used to estimate mortality and lost-years of healthy life in children < 5 years of age. Methods: We fit an integrated exposure-response (IER) model by integrating available RR information from studies of ambient air pollution (AAP), second hand tobacco smoke, household solid cooking fuel, and active smoking (AS). AS exposures were converted to estimated annual PM2.5 exposure equivalents using inhaled doses of particle mass. We derived population attributable fractions (PAFs) for every country based on estimated worldwide ambient PM2.5 concentrations. Results: The IER model was a superior predictor of RR compared with seven other forms previously used in burden assessments. The percent PAF attributable to AAP exposure varied among countries from 2 to 41 for IHD, 1 to 43 for stroke, < 1 to 21 for COPD, < 1 to 25 for LC, and < 1 to 38 for ALRI. Conclusions: We developed a fine particulate mass-based RR model that covered the global range of exposure by integrating RR information from different combustion types that generate emissions of particulate matter. The model can be updated as new RR information becomes available.
Chafe Z.A.,University of California at Berkeley |
Brauer M.,University of British Columbia |
Klimont Z.,International Institute For Applied Systems Analysis |
Van Dingenen R.,European Commission - Joint Research Center Ispra |
And 5 more authors.
Environmental Health Perspectives | Year: 2015
Background: Approximately 2.8billion people cook with solid fuels. Research has focused on the health impacts of indoor exposure to fine particulate pollution. Here, for the 2010 Global Burden of Disease project (GBD2010), we evaluated the impact of household cooking with solid fuels on regional population-weighted ambient PM2.5 (particulate matter ≤ 2.5μm) pollution (APM2.5). Objectives: We estimated the proportion and concentrations of APM2.5 attributable to household cooking with solid fuels (PM2.5-cook) for the years 1990, 2005, and 2010 in 170 countries, and associated ill health. Methods: We used an energy supply–driven emissions model (GAINS; Greenhouse Gas and Air Pollution Interactions and Synergies) and source-receptor model (TM5-FASST) to estimate the proportion of APM2.5 produced by households and the proportion of household PM2.5 emissions from cooking with solid fuels. We estimated health effects using GBD2010 data on ill health from APM2.5 exposure. Results: In 2010, household cooking with solid fuels accounted for 12% of APM2.5 globally, varying from 0% of APM2.5 in five higher-income regions to 37% (2.8μg/m3 of 6.9μg/m3 total) in southern sub-Saharan Africa. PM2.5-cook constituted > 10% of APM2.5 in seven regions housing 4.4 billion people. South Asia showed the highest regional concentration of APM2.5 from household cooking (8.6μg/m3). On the basis of GBD2010, we estimate that exposure to APM2.5 from cooking with solid fuels caused the loss of 370,000 lives and 9.9million disability-adjusted life years globally in 2010. Conclusions: PM2.5 emissions from household cooking constitute an important portion of APM2.5 concentrations in many places, including India and China. Efforts to improve ambient air quality will be hindered if household cooking conditions are not addressed. © 2015, Public Health Services, US Dept of Health and Human Services. All rights reserved.
Smith K.R.,University of California at Berkeley |
Bruce N.,University of Liverpool |
Balakrishnan K.,Sri Ramachandra University |
Adair-Rohani H.,University of California at Berkeley |
And 8 more authors.
Annual Review of Public Health | Year: 2014
In the Comparative Risk Assessment (CRA) done as part of the Global Burden of Disease project (GBD-2010), the global and regional burdens of household air pollution (HAP) due to the use of solid cookfuels, were estimated along with 60+ other risk factors. This article describes how the HAP CRA was framed; how global HAP exposures were modeled; how diseases were judged to have sufficient evidence for inclusion; and how meta-Analyses and exposure-response modeling were done to estimate relative risks. We explore relationships with the other air pollution risk factors: Ambient air pollution, smoking, and secondhand smoke. We conclude with sensitivity analyses to illustrate some of the major uncertainties and recommendations for future work. We estimate that in 2010 HAP was responsible for 3.9 million premature deaths and ∼4.8% of lost healthy life years (DALYs), ranking it highest among environmental risk factors examined and one of the major risk factors of any type globally. ©2014 by Annual Reviews. All rights reserved.
News Article | December 22, 2016
One of the greatest gifts we can give is to help end poverty around the world: a challenge of overwhelming dimensions. But a crucial step is access to energy. I’ve provided links below to 25 organizations which are working to end energy poverty now. They can all benefit from your help and generosity. Imagine life without electricity, heat, refrigeration, adequate lighting and cooking facilities, air conditioning, modern transportation and health care, clean and safe water. When we are faced with these conditions for even a few days or a week following a natural disaster it creates a crisis we speak of for years. Yet this is the life billions live every day. When people don’t have access to energy to begin with the challenge to move up from a life of poverty is all consuming. More than 1.3 billion people still have no access to electricity. And almost three billion people still rely on biomass, wood, charcoal and dung for cooking, with disastrous health consequences. One in six people lack access to clean drinking water. What can we do to help end poverty around the world? Access to energy is essential. Traditionally, much of the resource, service provision, investment and technology to address energy poverty is driven by government policy / funding and corporate, institutional and financial sector investment. Large-scale global initiatives are essential and may indeed over time help bring greater focus and funds at a national and regional scale to those in greatest need of access to energy. But as individuals we can each make our own contribution, now. Last year at this time I provided the Second Annual List of non-profit and charitable organizations all helping end energy poverty at a variety of scales. Many of you contributed with funds and your own time and energy to these organizations and for that my thanks. Once again, I’ve updated the list for the coming year based on your suggestions. The list is certainly not all inclusive nor intended to be a specific endorsement but is a good and efficient starting point. I hope you find it useful and welcome your additions and ideas – simply adding your favorite organization as a comment to this blog would be the best way to get information into the hands of people who want to help. Thanks in advance for your consideration. Select Non-Profit Organizations, Foundations, Funds and Institutions Helping to End Energy Poverty Acumen Borgen Project CARE Energy for All Engineers without Borders Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves Grid Alternatives ImpactCarbon Innovation: Africa Light Foundation ONE Practical Action Pritzker Innovation Fund Rockefeller Foundation SolarAid Solar Electric Light Fund Solar Sister STG International UNICEF Unite to Light United Nations Foundation US Aid New This Year: WaterAid America AidFor Africa OXFAM The Breakthrough Institute And One For the Families and Children of Aleppo UNICEF Aleppo
News Article | December 16, 2015
What can we do to help end poverty around the world? A crucial step for billions of people is access to energy. Every week, more than a million children are born into the world to feed, clothe and shelter. And the greatest growth in population comes from many of the least developed nations. Today, in this rapidly expanding world, 1.3 billion people still have no access to electricity, and nearly one in six people around the world lack access to clean and safe drinking water. More than 2.7 billion people still rely on biomass, like wood and dung, for cooking. Energy is crucial to lift people from a life of hardship and poverty. It powers schools, businesses, and hospitals, takes us to work, helps irrigate our crops, refrigerates our food, heats and cools our homes, manufactures the essential things we use every day, cleans our water, drives our economies. When we have energy, we tend to take it for granted. When we lose it for an hour, it’s an inconvenience, a day and it’s a big problem, a week and it’s chaos. When people don’t have access to energy to begin with, the challenge to move up from a life of poverty is all consuming. Traditionally, much of the resource, service provision, investment and technology to address energy poverty is driven by government policy / funding and corporate, institutional and financial sector investment. Initiatives following COP21 may over time help bring greater focus and funds at a national and regional scale to those in greatest need of access to energy. But as individuals we can each make our own contribution. Last year at this time I provided a list of non-profit and charitable organizations all helping end energy poverty at a variety of scales. Many of you contributed with funds and your own time and energy to these organizations and for that my thanks. I’ve updated the list for 2016 based on your suggestions. The list is certainly not all inclusive nor intended to be a specific endorsement but is a good and efficient starting point. I hope you find it useful and welcome your additions, critiques and ideas. Thanks in advance for your help. Acumen Borgen Project CARE Energy for All Engineers without Borders Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves Grid Alternatives ImpactCarbon Innovation: Africa Light Foundation ONE Practical Action Pritzker Innovation Fund Rockefeller Foundation SolarAid Solar Electric Light Fund Solar Sister STG International UNICEF Unite to Light United Nations Foundation US Aid
Bonjour S.,World Health Organization |
Adair-Rohani H.,University of California at Berkeley |
Wolf J.,World Health Organization |
Bruce N.G.,University of Liverpool |
And 6 more authors.
Environmental Health Perspectives | Year: 2013
Background: Exposure to household air pollution from cooking with solid fuels in simple stoves is a major health risk. Modeling reliable estimates of solid fuel use is needed for monitoring trends and informing policy. Objectives: In order to revise the disease burden attributed to household air pollution for the Global Burden of Disease 2010 project and for international reporting purposes, we estimated annual trends in the world population using solid fuels. Methods: We developed a multilevel model based on national survey data on primary cooking fuel. Results: The proportion of households relying mainly on solid fuels for cooking has decreased from 62% (95% CI: 58, 66%) to 41% (95%37, 44%) between 1980 and 2010. Yet because of population growth, the actual number of persons exposed has remained stable at around 2.8 billion during three decades. Solid fuel use is most prevalent in Africa and Southeast Asia where > 60% of households cook with solid fuels. In other regions, primary solid fuel use ranges from 46% in the Western Pacific, to 35% in the Eastern Mediterranean and < 20% in the Americas and Europe. Conclusion: Multilevel modeling is a suitable technique for deriving reliable solid-fuel use estimates. Worldwide, the proportion of households cooking mainly with solid fuels is decreasing. The absolute number of persons using solid fuels, however, has remained steady globally and is increasing in some regions. Surveys require enhancement to better capture the health implications of new technologies and multiple fuel use.
News Article | November 5, 2016
Billions of people around the world still cook inside over open fires. They burn dung, wood and charcoal to fuel the flames, clouding their homes with toxic fumes. For activists and entrepreneurs, this has seemed like an easy fix: Design a cleaner cookstove, get it in the hands of the people who need them, and harmful emissions of "black carbon," or soot, that damages people's lungs and contributes to climate change will decline. In recent years, millions of impoverished families have received clean cookstoves via public and private initiatives. Yet black carbon is still a major health problem, in part because families can't afford to fix the clean cookstoves when they break. SEE ALSO: 2 billion children are breathing toxic air, UNICEF reports Now a team of scientists in California might have found a way to crack the cookstove code. Using wireless data technology and cell phone networks, the group designed a system that enables women in rural India to use and repair cleaner stoves and be compensated for doing so. They published the results of their two-year pilot project in the Oct. 31 online edition of Nature Climate Change. "We're looking to empower women to not only be able to afford the stoves, but afford to keep the stoves running," said Nithya Ramanathan, a senior researcher for Project Surya, which led the initiative. The team is planning to grow the project from 4,000 homes in rural India to a million households within the same region. At that scale, "a literal cloud of air pollution would disappear," Ramanathan told Mashable. Black carbon is made of tiny particles that come from burning solid biomass such as dung and wood. When regularly inhaled, it can cause lung cancer, heart disease and other illnesses. The World Health Organization estimates around 4.3 million people die prematurely each year from illnesses linked to household air pollution. Public health experts who weren't involved with the experiment said they were excited by the initial field results and the potential to use wireless technologies to spur greater use of clean cookstoves. "It is time the rural development world fully embraced modern IT techniques such as these," Kirk Smith, a professor of rural environmental health at University of California, Berkeley, said by email from India. Because not all cookstove designs are created equal, Project Surya limited its pilot project to a certain type of "forced-draft" stove. The $70 model still burns cheap biomass, but it uses fans to lower fuel use, shorten cooking times and limit harmful smoke. Hillary Clinton, left, listens as Radha Muthiah, executive director of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, speaks at a New York summit. Clinton launched the public-private initiative in 2010 as U.S. secretary of state. Starting in May 2014, the team worked with 4,038 households in the eastern Indian state of Odisha. Nexleaf Analytics, Ramanathan's non-profit tech company, developed a wireless sensing system to monitor the families' use of the cookstoves. About 450 homes had the wireless sensors, while the remaining households manually logged their usage. The team found that one hour of cooking on the clean stove reduced air pollution by about 0.003 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. Women could earn $6 for each avoided ton, or about $32 a year if they used the stove for five hours every day. That's a sizable chunk of change for families who typically earn just $2 a day. But it wasn't enough to push women to go out, buy extra fuel and run their stoves longer than needed to rack up extra credits, Ramanathan said. An Indian woman weighs wood to sell as fuel, mainly to be used for cooking, at a shop in Gauhati, India, June 9, 2016. Within the first six months, about half of the stoves broke down, and only half of the duds were repaired. Women in isolated villages also had trouble collecting their cash payments. Through trial and error, Project Surya found the best way to pay women was to send credits via cell phones through M-Pesa, a money transfer service similar to PayPal. Local agents cashed out the credits at banks in town and then traveled to villages to hand women the cash. Researchers are now working to build local repair networks, said Tara Ramanathan, Nithya's sister and a program director at Nexleaf. Their father, Veerabhadran Ramanathan, heads Project Surya and is a prominent climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. Women in Project Surya's pilot project earned about $70,000 in total carbon credits. With a million participants, payments would likely total about $100 million a year. The funding could come from governments and financial institutions in developed countries, which have pledged to invest $100 billion a year to finance climate change projects in developing economies, Nithya Ramathan said. An Iraqi woman bakes bread using a mud stove in Baghdad in 2006. But public health experts said Project Surya's initiative has several kinks to iron out if it's going to scale to millions of households. Smith, the Berkeley professor, said the team should also attach wireless sensors to the conventional, polluting stoves. In his own research in northern India, Smith found that families continued to use their traditional stoves even with a cleaner model in the house — a process known as "stacking" that undermines the health benefits of new, cleaner stoves. Rema Hanna, a Harvard University economist who led an extensive field study on clean cookstoves in 2012, said that while she applauded Project Surya's work, further research is needed to see if this model can actually curb indoor air pollution or financially motivate families at a larger scale. "Before we start scaling up financial incentives, I would encourage even more testing of this model in other settings," she told Mashable. Hanna said that in general she believes researchers should postpone initiatives to deliver clean cookstoves to rural communities, given how many stoves end up broken or unused. "Researchers should focus on both improving stoves and testing other potential solutions before we spend lots of money and resources doing large-scale stove interventions," she said.
News Article | December 7, 2016
A big clinical trial in Malawi was expected to show children are less likely to die of pneumonia if they live in a home where food is cooked on a smoke-free stove rather than an open fire. Instead it suggests the stove makes no difference. Where does this leave a huge UN-backed project to get 100 million clean cookstoves into homes in the developing world by 2020? "Exposure to household air pollution is a problem of poverty," says Kevin Mortimer, a medical doctor and a respiratory health researcher at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. "If you're not poor, you're not exposed." About 2.8 billion people - between a third and a half of the world's population - burn solid fuel such as wood, crop waste, charcoal, coal and dung to cook their food in open fires and leaky stoves. Inside those homes, cooking smoke is eye-stingingly visible, and it blackens the walls. But the invisible effect it has on the tiniest, branching airways of the lungs is what makes this a global crisis. Those smoke particles are taken up by cells that form part of the natural defences of the lungs. In doing that, they diminish the function of these cells, increasing the risk of infections and chronic illness. Crucially, smoke is a key driver of child pneumonia - a leading cause of death in children under five in many countries across the developing world. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that four million premature deaths every year - in children and adults - can be attributed to indoor air pollution. That is why in 2010, the United Nations Foundation and the US State Department launched the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC), with a mission to "foster the adoption of clean cookstoves and fuels in 100 million households by 2020". Cleaner cookstoves, the alliance says "save lives and reduce illness". There is, however, a problem. A study run by Kevin Mortimer in Malawi over the last two years, and written up in the Lancet, shows that the cookstove alone does neither. Mortimer and his colleagues targeted 150 villages in two of Malawi's poorest districts, Chikwawa and Chilumba, giving a cookstove to half of the families, and using the other half - who continued to cook over an open fire - as a control group. The health of children in both groups was tested regularly. "We followed up and monitored the health of 10,000 children for this study, and our results basically show that there is no difference in cases of pneumonia between the intervention and the control group," he says. "The hard science - certainly from our study - is perhaps at odds with the claim that stoves along the lines of the ones we've used here save lives and reduce illness." The stove used in the trial, distributed free of charge to just over 4,000 homes, runs on the same fuel as would previously have been used on open fires but incorporates a battery-powered fan to blow air through a contained furnace, resulting in a more efficient, less smoky fire. Mortimer was expecting, and hoping, that the reduction in smoke would lead to a reduction in pneumonia. He only got the bad news right at the end, because the data had been "blinded" - the researchers deliberately kept hidden whether a given set of medical records were from a family who had been given a stove, or from a family in the control group. "I would have really, really loved to have seen that this intervention was a clear, beneficial intervention for children under the age of five," says Mortimer. "So that moment of unblinding the data and seeing that there is no measurable effect at all… certainly it's disappointing, but I do think it's the truth. "On the one hand, I'm satisfied that we did what we set out to do - we answered the scientific question clearly. But there's the human reaction to that." Mortimer's results come on top of studies carried out in Nepal by Prof Jim Tielsch from George Washington University, to assess whether cleaner stoves significantly reduce the amount of pollution that people breathe in. "Where we work, right on the border of Northern India, the predominant source of cooking fuel is biomass fuel - wood, dried animal dung, often mixed with rice straw and crop waste," he says. This results in concentrations of breathable particulates between 900 and 1,400 micrograms per cubic metre - way above the 200 microgram level rated as "very unhealthy" by the US Environmental Protection Agency's Air Quality Index. The first of Tielsch's two randomised trials used an improved biomass stove with two burners plus a chimney to vent the smoke outside. The next used a stove running on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). "With the first stove intervention, we brought [exposure] down to about 900 from 1,400 micrograms. And the LPG stove brought that down by another 50%," he says. "That's substantial, but nowhere near what was needed to have an effect on respiratory health." His conclusion: "We need to focus on cleaner fuels, and - for young children - on better nutrition and vaccinations against diseases like pneumonia." Prof Majid Ezzati from Imperial College London, who has written an editorial in the Lancet to accompany the findings of Mortimer's team, also says it is now clear that stoves are not the answer, and instead people need to tackle the bigger question of providing people with cleaner sources of energy. "What we really want to be thinking about is domestic energy, instead of cheap, low-tech solutions that have been shown not to work," he says - a note of exasperation in his voice. He argues that researchers need to find out what drives people to choose the fuel they cook with, whether for example it is cost or availability, and to come up with policies that make clean fuels easily available and affordable. Asked by the BBC to comment on the results of the Malawi study, the GACC said it was not surprised, and would not have expected this stove, fuelled with wood or other forms of biomass, to save lives. "We know that not all cookstoves and fuels can save lives or prevent pneumonia," it says. "We have had an increasing emphasis on clean fuels precisely because we want to maximise health benefits." A number of the stoves the GACC distributes are designed to work with other fuels. But for many of the very poorest people, such as the families Mortimer was working with in Malawi, gaining access to these fuels - such as ethanol, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), biogas or electricity - is not realistic in the short term. The good news is that the research carried out by Mortimer and his colleagues did suggest the cleaner stove had some benefits, even if it did not reduce childhood pneumonia. Cynthia Katundu, a fieldwork supervisor says families with the new stoves told her that their chronic coughs improved and that family members with asthma suffered fewer attacks. Village leaders also said that nearby vegetation grew better in villages that had made the switch to the cleaner stoves, she says. And importantly, in villages with the new stoves, the study found a 40% reduction in the number of children who suffered burns. During the course of the study one young child was actually killed when a cooking fire took hold and burned down the tiny thatched hut with the child trapped inside. The GACC says this is significant news. Burns from open fires and unsafe cookstoves, it says are "an insidious risk faced by poor households, contributing to a substantial percentage of the estimated 195,000 burn deaths that occur annually". Despite the results of this study by Mortimer and his colleagues the GACC appears set on continuing with its efforts to distribute 100 million cookstoves by 2020. Twenty-eight million had been distributed by the end of 2014 and the figure was forecast to be 63 million by the end of 2016. The alliance points out that the stoves are helpful in many ways, even putting health to one side. Because they are more efficient they reduce the amount of time women and children need to spend collecting wood and slow down rates of deforestation. They also reduce the large amounts of climate-changing pollutants, such as black carbon, released by traditional fires and stoves. Mortimer's involvement with Malawi - where he has been travelling regularly now for four years - is also not about to stop. "The unfairness - that there are people who have so very, very little - that's a big driver for me," he says. His focus now is helping colleagues in Malawi who worked for him to move into new jobs. He has also spent the last few years helping his friend in Blantyre Charles "Godknows" Maseko who runs the Steka home for abandoned street children, and advising him as he turns Steka into a sustainable, self-funding enterprise. And while he admits to "bracing himself" for criticism from advocates of clean cookstove technology , he says he and they share one crucial focus - they all want to clean up the air that the world's poorest children breathe in their own homes. "We all share the fight against this major global inequality," he says, "and the vision and desire to see truly effective solutions." Join the conversation - find us on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.