Skip Navigation


Global Projects


Improved Cookstove Intervention to Improve Markers of Respiratory Health


Approximately 3 billion individuals are exposed to drastic indoor air pollution (IAP) due to smoke from burning biomass during cooking. Exposure to biomass smoke promotes several chronic diseases and is the single greatest risk factor for respiratory diseases globally. Improved cookstoves have been proposed by public health advocacy groups as a solution to reduce IAP. However, there is limited knowledge of the effectiveness of such preventive strategies because of lack of biomarkers. Our research team constitutes experts in the areas of exposure assessment, respiratory health, toxicology, biomarkers, and epidemiology. The objective of this proposal is to (a) validate internal dose and intermediate endpoint biomarkers that can act as surrogates for respiratory disease after biomass-induced IAP (b) test the effectiveness of improved cookstove intervention via assessment of these biomarkers after improved cookstove implementation. From a rural Pune district of India, where we have an existing research collaboration, we will recruit 20 non-smoking women who are the primary cooks in their homes. Our intervention study will convert biomass-using households to either improved-efficiency cookstoves or clean-burning liquid petroleum gas (as controls) for periods of one month each. Exposure to IAP will be assessed by measuring air quality in the home before and after interventions. Blood, urine and sputum will be collected routinely to measure biomarkers of internal dose, inflammation, and oxidative stress, along with respiratory function. This study will provide the preliminary data required for designing studies to mitigate IAP and reduce the risk of respiratory diseases in the larger rural Indian population.