On April 1, the One Health Intellectual Exchange’s session consisted of presentations from Jessica Lewis and Marc Jeuland that concerned the impacts of cookstoves on air pollution, health, and fuel. Jessica Lewis is a third year PhD student in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University and is an EPA STAR Doctoral Fellow. She studies household energy and health and focuses on traditional cooking in developing countries. Marc Jeuland, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Global Health, Environment, and Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. In the past, Dr. Jeuland worked with the World Bank and volunteered with the Peace Corps for projects related to water sanitation. His research includes economic implications of climate change, management of trans-boundary water resources, water sanitation, and environmental health.
Ms. Lewis began with an overview of traditional and improved cookstoves and then highlighted her study in Odisha, India. Importance of research on cooking methods and their impacts includes the following reasons: forty percent of the world relies on solid fuel for cooking and heating, and air pollution is responsible for one out of seven deaths, in which household air pollution (HAP) contributes. HAP includes substances such as particulate matter, black carbon, carbon monoxide, and carcinogenic materials. Disadvantages of traditional cookstoves and solid fuels are high pollution risk, increased fuel wood use, deforestation, and impacts on health and climate. Therefore, improved cookstoves are being introduced to improve its efficiency and reduce emissions in order to ultimately achieve health and environmental gains.
The study in Odisha, India included an extensive baseline survey from five hundred households to assess firewood use, personal air pollution, household air pollution, and health implications. Monitors were worn by some individuals to measure personal air pollution. Factors such as household education and fuel prices significantly affect the choice of using improved cookstoves. The improved cookstove significantly reduced firewood use, household air pollution, and personal air pollution. Stove “stacking” was common in the village, as multiple stove types were used by households, and only twenty-five percent of households own only one stove. Further research could determine the length of cookstove use by households, the age of cookstove users, and the health history of cookstove users. These further questions could indicate additional health implications from cookstove use. Ms. Lewis also directed the group to visit dukeenergyhealth.org.
Dr. Jeuland followed with a presentation about why people choose to cook with an improved cookstove. Beginning with background information, Dr. Jeuland explained that people may choose not to cook with an improved cookstove because of cost, lack of knowledge, no preference, being risk averse, and conformism. In theory, people adopt environmental health technologies because of rationality, costs, time, and interventions. However, people often do not adopt environmental health technologies, and “free stove” studies may not be successful despite their cheapness and efficiency.
Dr. Jeuland’s presentation then focused on his study in India. The study aimed to find improved cookstove adoption determinants, collect evaluations of their impacts, and conduct marketing studies. First, the study evaluated baseline cooking and fuel behaviors, knowledge and perception of cookstoves, and cookstove design preferences through a baseline survey. The surveys showed that people preferred cheaper cookstoves that emit less smoke, decrease the needed amount of fuel, and increased the number of cooking surfaces. After the baseline survey, pilots were conducted in which a cookstove was offered to people along with a payment plan and advertised by social marketing. Some people bought natural draft or electric stoves, and selling in poor, rural areas were difficult. Following pilot studies, intervention occurred. Information about cookstoves was distributed via fact sheets, and demonstrations for using cookstoves were performed in communities. The people paid three installments, and a random rebate was offered. According to the study, rebates encouraged cookstove purchases and use. Electrical stoves were most used, but the users also had to pay for electricity. Fuel savings were largest for households in the NGOs stratum, and fuel expenses increased with rebates, most likely due to electricity costs. Dr. Jeuland summarized that supply of cookstoves is needed, as the study shows a demand for cookstoves.
Discussion and questions followed the presentation. Questions included the following topics:
- Practicality and effects of fixing a traditional cookstove instead of introducing a new cookstove
- Children’s health impacted by cookstove use
- Efficiency of a biogas stove
- The need of proof for improved cookstove health impacts
- The household member that decides to buy a cookstove
- The use of a community stove
- How taste is changed from using improved cookstoves versus traditional cookstoves
Post Authored by Erin Beasley, NC State University