Globally, about 3 billion people rely on solid fuel combustion (e.g., wood, coal, animal dung) to meet basic domestic energy needs, such as cooking and heating. Many households use traditional cookstoves to meet these cooking and heating needs, which can result in extremely high indoor air pollution concentrations. In 2010, household air pollution from solid fuel combustion accounted for an estimated 4.3 million premature deaths per year, representing about 4.5% of the global disease burden.
Colorado State University faculty and students are committed to tackling the tough research questions that remain surrounding cookstove use and health. Answers resulting from our multidisciplinary approaches to research will inform and encourage governments and policy makers to enact change to impact the health of billions.
Epidemiologic Cookstove Research at CSU
For more information about our ongoing epidemiologic intervention study in Honduras, please visit our Honduras Cookstove Intervention Summary page. This work has been informed by over 10 years of epidemiologic cookstove research conducted at CSU. It all started in 2005 with a cross‐sectional study of household air pollution among Honduran women cooking with traditional and improved wood‐burning cookstoves in semi‐urban and semi‐rural communities near Tegucigalpa. During this initial study, a partnership between CSU and Trees, Water & People (TWP) was formed. TWP has been working with communities and local NGOs to develop and distribute culturally acceptable cookstoves in Central America for decades and this partnership continues to be one of the most important features of our cookstove research.
CSU undergraduate students initiated the next research project in Nicaragua. From 2008‐2010, over 15 undergraduates participated in fieldwork during this intervention study conducted in a rural community outside of Granada, Nicaragua. We measured exposures to air pollutants and markers of cardiovascular and respiratory health among family members before (i.e., while households were using traditional cookstoves) and after an intervention with a cleaner burning cookstove. In 2013‐2014, CSU once again returned to cookstove work in Honduras with Judy Heiderscheidt’s doctoral research project in the rural areas near Copan. This intervention study also involved several undergraduate and graduate students and, for the first time, incorporated the Community Readiness Model to evaluate the community’s "readiness" or willingness to adopt and sustainably use a new cooking technology.
For undergraduate and graduate students, these projects provide a unique and valuable opportunity to conduct global health and clean energy research among underserved populations in low and middle income countries. These experiences have taken the form of internships and honor’s theses for undergraduate students and MS and PhD projects for graduate students. Please contact us if you are interested in joining our team.