It is clear that household air pollution (HAP) is a major modifiable risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) among the poor in developing countries.  While the link between HAP and chronic lung disease and lung cancer is well established; direct evidence for cardiovascular disease is still limited.  The extent to which adopting clean cooking can reduce this burden, and over what time horizon, remains unclear.  

In December 2014, the Alliance, in coordination with National Institutes of Health, convened a one-day meeting to bring together experts from the fields of ambient air pollution, tobacco smoking and respiratory and cardiovascular public health.  The purpose of the workshop was to draw on existing knowledge and experience to highlight potential indicators and biomarkers of NCDs that might be appropriate to use to evaluate the health benefits of reducing HAP. The following questions were considered:

  • What are the mechanisms by which a shift to clean cooking can cause measureable impacts on indicators of adult chronic respiratory and cardiovascular disease?  
  • Where are the ‘clean’ technologies being scaled up? Will scale up result in exposure reductions substantial enough to reduce the risk of chronic respiratory and cardiovascular disease?
  • What are the right ‘indicators’ that will demonstrate health benefits over a relatively short time frame?  What are the challenges of field-based epidemiology in terms of feasibility?
  • What can be learned from epidemiology of other combustion-source pollution?  
  • How should competing risk factors, i.e. other sources of air pollution, population susceptibility, and other behavioral risk factors be addressed?

The meeting report captures key points raised during the workshop, in order to help guide the development of a strategic, feasible research agenda necessary to evaluate the health benefits of clean cooking adoption over a relatively short time frame. 

See detailed presentations at links on the side.