Modeling the potential health benefits of lower household air pollution after a hypothetical liquified petroleum gas (LPG) cookstove intervention

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UC BERKELEY AUTHOR: Ajay Pillarisetti


REGION: Global

REFERENCE: Steenland K, Pillarisetti A, Kirby M, Peel J, Clark M, Checkley W, Chang HH, Clasen T. Environ Int. 2018. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2017.11.018.

SUMMARY/ABSTRACT:  Improved biomass and advanced fuel cookstoves can lower household air pollution (HAP), but levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) often remain above the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended interim target of 35μg/m3. METHODS: Based on existing literature, we first estimate a range of likely levels of personal PM2.5 before and after a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) intervention. Using simulations reflecting uncertainty in both the exposure estimates and exposure-response coefficients, we estimate corresponding expected health benefits for systolic blood pressure (SBP) in adults, birthweight, and pneumonia incidence among children <2years old. We also estimate potential avoided premature mortality among those exposed. RESULTS: Our best estimate is that an LPG stove intervention would decrease personal PM2.5 exposure from approximately 270μg/m3 to approximately 70μg/m3, due to likely continued use of traditional open-fire stoves. We estimate that this decrease would lead to a 5.5mmHg lower SBP among women over age 50, a 338g higher birthweight, and a 37% lower incidence of severe childhood pneumonia. We estimate that decreased SBP, if sustained, would result in a 5%-10% decrease in mortality for women over age 50. We estimate that higher birthweight would reduce infant mortality by 4 to 11 deaths per 1000 births; for comparison, the current global infant mortality rate is 32/1000 live births. Reduced exposure is estimated to prevent approximately 29 cases of severe pneumonia per year per 1000 children under 2, avoiding approximately 2-3 deaths/1000 per year. However, there are large uncertainties around all these estimates due to uncertainty in both exposure estimates and in exposure-response coefficients; all health effect estimates include the null value of no benefit. CONCLUSIONS: An LPG stove intervention, while not likely to lower exposure to the WHO interim target level, is still likely to offer important health benefits.