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Indoor Cooking Stoves Kill 2 Million Annually, NIH Study Says

Pollution from indoor cooking stoves, typically open fires that that burn solid fuels such as wood, charcoal or dung, kills two million globally each year, scientists at NIH said in a study published in the journal Science on Thursday, Agence France-Presse reports. Smoke emitted from the stoves, used by three billion people worldwide, “causes pneumonia and chronic lung disease that particularly affects women and children who tend to spend more time in the home while men are outside working,” AFP writes, adding that “little public awareness surrounds what the World Health Organization describes as the globe’s top environmental killer” (Sheridan, 10/13).

“To help change this, some $150 million to $200 million worth of research needs to be done over the next decade to see that clean cookstoves get into the homes of the women most vulnerable to the hazards of indoor pollution, the scientists wrote,” according to Reuters. “The research should include examinations of respiratory, cardiovascular and cancer risks as well as such life-cycle concerns as maternal, neonatal and child health, said Dr. William Martin II of the [NIH], one of the report’s authors,” the news service writes (Zabarenko, 10/13).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.