Peruvian Highlands, Fume-Free

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Science  14 Oct 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6053, pp. 157
DOI: 10.1126/science.1212526

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In the andean highlands of Peru, a typical single-room home will burn approximately 3.6 tons of wood a year, not just for heating but for cooking indoors. Three billion people world-wide cook indoors over open fires with solid fuels. This use has a detrimental effect on human health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly two million people die annually from open-fire cooking, with women and young children the most affected. The hazards related to these practices include acute respiratory infections, insufficient weight at birth, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Despite WHO estimates that cookstove smoke is one of the top five threats to public health in poor developing countries, the effects of exposure to it have received limited funding and research attention. The good news is that since the announcement last year of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves [launched by the United Nations (UN) Foundation], coordinated efforts are successfully under way to support the use of clean cookstoves in the developing world.*