Journal Article

The effects of smokeless cookstoves on peak expiratory flow rates in rural Honduras

W.P. Rennert, R.M. Porras Blanco and G.B. Muniz

in Journal of Public Health

Published on behalf of Faculty of Public Health

Volume 37, issue 3, pages 455-460
Published in print September 2015 | ISSN: 1741-3842
Published online November 2014 | e-ISSN: 1741-3850 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/pubmed/fdu087
The effects of smokeless cookstoves on peak expiratory flow rates in rural Honduras

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Background

The use of biomass fuel for cooking in traditional cookstove designs negatively affects respiratory health of communities in developing countries. Indoor pollution affects particularly women and children, who are participating in food preparation. The effects of smokeless cookstove designs on indoor pollution are well documented, but few studies exist to assess the effects of improved stove designs on the respiratory health of community members.

Methods

This study uses peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) measurements in a before-and-after format to assess respiratory function of inhabitants of all 30 houses of Buenas Noches in central Honduras. PEFRs are measured before and 6 months after the installation of Justa stoves in people's homes. Health behaviors, respiratory symptoms and fire wood use are evaluated in a door-to-door survey format.

Results

A total of 137 eligible women and children between 6 and 14 years participated in the study. PEFR improved by 9.9–18.5% (P < 0.001) depending on the participants’ exposure to indoor pollution. Health complaints like cough and behaviors like clinic visits did not change with the introduction of smokeless cookstove technology.

Conclusions

Smokeless stoves improve respiratory health in an environment of high levels of indoor pollution.

Keywords: air pollution; children; communities

Journal Article.  3553 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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