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Clean Cookstoves Campaign to save lives
Detail: Nearly two million deaths could be prevented each year by replacing cooking fires and inefficient, smoky stoves, reports a policy analysis by leaders from the National Institutes of Health published in Science Thursday.

Smoke exposure inside the home can cause respiratory diseases, lung cancer and pneumonia. These cooking methods are the leading cause of environmental death around the world, according to the World Health Organization.

The health risks of cooking fires hit women and children particularly hard because they tend to work inside the home during the day, increasing their exposure.

An international public-private partnership started by the United Nations Foundation, called the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, has formed to try to create a market and demand for newer stoves. But reaching its goal of 100 million homes adopting cleaner stoves -- which use electricity, solar power or a range of clean fuels -- by 2020 will be challenging, the authors said.

The campaign is trying to build a market for the products instead of distributing them for free, because many health efforts have found families ascribe more value to an item if they have to invest in it. But once new stoves are in the right hands, there will be a widespread need for education about the best way to cook with them.

There is also still uncertainty over the level of emissions reductions needed to improve health, and if the current campaign will help achieve that, says NIH. The authors estimate the costs of a necessary research program at between $150 million to $200 million.

Despite these costs, Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told Science that the huge burden of death caused by indoor pollution is a call to action.

For full story see

Talea Miller, "2 Million Deaths a Year Attributed to Pollution from Indoor Cookstove Fires", PBS Newshour, October 13, 2011
Date: October 29 2011