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Washington Post Examines Research Assessing Public Health Benefits Of Clean Cookstoves

“One of the most talked-about public-health initiatives is improving indoor air quality in the rural developing world,” the Washington Post reports, noting “Over the past two years, the United States has pledged $105 million to fighting the cookstove problem.” The newspaper highlights the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, founded with the help of the U.S. government in 2010, which “aims to help 100 million households replace their stoves with clean alternatives by 2020.”

However, “[s]tudies challenging the ability of clean stoves to improve health and environment are beginning to come in,” the newspaper states. The article discusses two studies in detail: the Randomized Exposure Study of Pollution Indoors and Respiratory Effects (RESPIRE), which “showed that clean cookstoves improved air quality and health, although not nearly as much as was suggested in [previous] observational studies,” and a separate randomized, controlled study titled “Up in Smoke,” released Monday by Harvard and MIT researchers, which found that “most families were barely using the clean cookstove at all,” the newspaper writes. “The Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and its partners are working to fill the gaps that remain in medical, technical and behavioral research, with further studies in Ghana, Nepal and Kenya,” the newspaper notes (Palmer, 4/16).