Newborn Stove Project (NBSP)
NSBP – a partnership between the International Clinical Epidemiology Network (INCLEN), Columbia University, UC Berkeley, and Sri Ramachandra University (SRU) – evaluated the feasibility of distributing clean cookstoves through the rural antenatal care system, which targets arguably the most vulnerable population -- poor, pregnant, rural women. The study distributed 200 blower stoves to pregnant women at INCLEN's SOMAARTH field site and tracked usage of the stoves continuously for 15 months using our Stove Use Monitoring System (SUMS) and measured pollutant concentrations and exposures before and after introduction of the stove. Funding for this project came from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Lung Foundation, and the World Bank. For more information, see
Mukhopadhyay R, Sambandam S, Pillarisetti A, Jack D, Mukhopadhyay K, Balakrishnan K, Vaswani M, Bates MN, Kinney PL, Arora N, & Smith, KR. (2012). Cooking practices, air quality, and the acceptability of advanced cookstoves in Haryana, India: an exploratory study to inform large-scale interventions. Global Health Action, 5. doi:10.3402/gha.v5i0.19016
Village and Regional Pollution from Household Fuels
This multi-year project has three goals and is conducted with several US and Indian partners at the Haryana SOMAARTH site noted above and operated by INCLEN.
- The contribution of household fuels to outdoor air pollution has been estimated to be substantial in many parts of the world, for example about one-quarter of ambient PM2.5 in India, but has not been well characterized. This is partly due to lack of understanding of how much such sources contribute to secondary particle formation in the atmosphere, a significant portion of outdoor pollution exposure. Although outdoor pollution is widely recognized as a problem and most major governments, including India’s, have clean air legislation, there is little understanding of the degree to which clean household combustion will be needed to meet outdoor air pollution goals. Quantifying these relationships through over all seasons is one purpose of this project.
- In addition, there is recognition that changing out one household at a time in a village may not be result in much reduction in exposure because of the “neighborhood pollution” created when the rest of the community is still using polluting cooking methods. This project addresses whether community-scale interventions may be needed to reduce personal exposures to cookstove emissions in India
- As advanced biomass stoves have not to date been able to reliably achieve low emissions, this project focuses on monitoring the changes in emissions and exposures due to community-level introduction of fully clean alternatives: LPG and electric cooking.
Partial funding has come from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
Heat stress among farmers
One of the potentially large impacts of climate change could be an increasingly difficult trade off in outdoor workers between productivity and health as the combined increase in temperature and humidity approaches or exceeds physiological limits for manual labor. Jointly with Indian colleagues in Chennai, we are conducing preliminary measurements and interviews during the summer 2014 with small farmers in Tamil Nadu to examine how they deal with this trade-off.