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Indoor environmental quality

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Indoor Environmental Quality[edit]

Indoor Air Quality[edit]

Cookstoves[edit]

  • Open fire cook stoves and the use of bio-fuel is one of the major causes of respiratory infections and low birth rates in the developing world. Two million deaths a year are associated with respiratory problems from indoor cooking fires with these traditional fuels in unventilated houses. [1] Particulates, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxide are produced from the incomplete combustion of these inefficient open stoves, while a lack of ventilation or draft prevents smoke from leaving the house.[2] These open fire stoves are not only being used because of tradition but also because it is an accessible and affordable option for poor communities. Women and their children are the most affected because women and children spend more of their time in the home. Children make up 44 percent of the deaths attributed to these respiratory problems, while women make up 60 percent of these deaths among adults.[3]

Improved Cookstoves[edit]

As of 2008, 27% of the people in developing countries use improved cook stoves, which attempt to reduce indoor air pollution.[4] Improved cook stoves development started with a heavy focus on increasing combustion efficiency. This is partly because increased combustion efficiency: reduces the particulates, Carbon monoxide, and Nitrogen Oxide produced by incomplete combustion, reduces fuel use, reduces Carbon Dioxide emissions and black carbon production, reduces the families time needed to collect wood, and reduces cooking time. Increased combustion efficiency might have also been such a large focus because it is one of the easier elements of a stove to study and improve in a lab.[5]

During this time important elements beyond increased combustion efficiency were being overlooked, these include:

    • that though the smoke is an irritant it might perform important functions in pest control or in curing the food,
    • also though costs may be low the women might not control the income and thus can not purchase the improved stove,
    • that the fuel type changes in season and the stove must be efficient at burning these different types of fuel,
    • and that different environments change the functions of the stove as the stove might also serve the double purpose of heating the house in colder climates.[6]

Today improved cook stove development programs attempt to do field tests, surveys, consultations with community members, and educational dissemination programs in order to get feedback to see if the community is seeing benefits from these improved stoves. Beyond increased combustion efficiency, smoke reduction can occur from chimney ventilation and sealed comals or comal openings sized to the families pot's size.

Improved Cookstove Programs[edit]

HSU Chiapas Improved Cookstoves comparing the Patsari and Lorena cookstoves in Mexico


Indoor Air Quality Testing[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Rasmussen, Erin. Energy Access in Developing Countries, 29 June 2010 [1] This reports on an article by Doug Barnes of the World Bank with statistics drawn from the WHO United Nations Report.
  2. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, "Nitrogen Oxide" [2]
  3. http://www.hedon.info/DirectContactHazardsOfCookstoves-BurnsCutsAndScalds%7CHedon Household Energy Network
  4. Rasmussen, Erin. Energy Access in Developing Countries, 29 June 2010 [3] This reports on an article by Doug Barnes of the World Bank with statistics drawn from the WHO United Nations Report.
  5. http://rael.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/old-site-files/1997/Kammen-Dove-Mundane-Science-1997.pdf
  6. Jiggins, Janice. "Changing the boundaries: women-centered perspectives on population and the environment", Island Press, 1994. [4]