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Cooking in the Congo: A Technical Assessment in North Kivu, DRC

25 August 2015 11:08 (America/New_York)

Cooking in the Congo: A Technical Assessment in North Kivu, DRC, 2015. Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC).

This report aims to provide a better understanding of the current situation of the domestic energy sector in North Kivu – with a particular focus on cooking, and how it affects the lives of communities living there. It provides an overview and analysis of the most significant energy-related interventions that have taken place (making a distinction between urban and rural/IDP-oriented) in the areas of concern. The analysis of experiences and impacts will help to identify lessons and positive practices for improved programming. Finally, this report assesses different energy resources and provides recommendations for appropriate cooking technologies in this specific context.

Want to Cook Sustainably? Go Solar

25 August 2015 11:00 (America/New_York)

Want to Cook Sustainably? Go Solar. National Geographic, Aug 2015.

Author: Victoria Sgarro

If you’ve ever been stuck in a black car on a hot day, then you understand the concept of solar cooking, says Louise Meyer, founder of Solar Household Energy, Inc. (SHE), which promotes solar cooking all over the world. Simply put, a dark surface absorbs sunlight and turns those light waves into heat energy. That’s why your car’s dark leather seats burn up in the summertime, and why we can rely on the sun for fuel. “It’s a heat trap,” Meyer explains.

Meyer became interested in harnessing the sun for fuel when she lived in the Sahel in Northern Africa in the early 1990s. She arrived to promote a textile project the women could sell, but since the women there spent most of their days scavenging for firewood, they had little time to generate income.

Read the complete article.

Fuel choice, fuel switching and improved cook stoves in Vietnamese households

25 August 2015 10:51 (America/New_York)

Fuel choice, fuel switching and improved cook stoves in Vietnamese households: Analysis, models and proposals for new solutions. 2015.

Niklas Vahlne

A majority of rural households in the developing world use solid biomass fuels for cooking. This use has severe negative health effects, is often either expensive or time consuming, and contributes to global warming. Options for policy interventions include the promotion of improved cook stoves (ICS) and enabling households to switch to more modern fuels, like liquefied petroleum gas. The main aims of this thesis is 1) to explore whether rural households’ fuel use can be modeled in new ways that focus on prediction, 2) to investigate whether area level differences in fuel use may have impacts for ICS programs, and 3) to address new solutions for ICS programs in areas where the current fuel use is mainly collected biomass.

Methods used to model fuel use are ordinary linear regression and a machine learning algorithm called Random Forest. Further models are developed in order to evaluate possible implications and proposed solutions for ICS programs based on variations in current fuel use. The papers use data from two different surveys. The first data set is from a survey, carried out in the Vĩnh Phúc province of northern Vietnam in 2010. The second survey is representative of most of rural Vietnam and was collected in 2002, 2005, and 2008 as part of the Vietnam Rural Electrification program.

The results from the regression and Random Forest analysis include new ways to model fuel use, enabling easy and accurate prediction. The results also provide possible alternative explanations for some previous modeling results. The modeling of stove interventions reveals large potential differences between communes, as well as a possible non-linear relationship between stove efficiencies and benefits, but also large uncertainties in estimations depending assumptions of fuel choice. Lastly, a model for a new type of ICS program that offers possibilities to overcome some of the barriers to adoption and sustained use reported by previous studies is evaluated. Combining the conclusions from the respective papers, a possibility of modeling variations in possible outcomes for stove programs, and the effects of such programs based on area descriptions, is found. However, further research is needed in order to make more robust estimations.

A Systematic Review of Innate Immunomodulatory Effects of Household Air Pollution Secondary to the Burning of Biomass Fuels

25 August 2015 10:16 (America/New_York)

A Systematic Review of Innate Immunomodulatory Effects of Household Air Pollution Secondary to the Burning of Biomass FuelsAnnals of Global Health, Aug 2015.

Authors: Alison Lee, MD, Patrick Kinney, ScD, Steve Chillrud, PhD, Darby Jack, PhD.

RATIONALE: Household air pollution-associated acute lower respiratory infections cause 455,000 deaths and a loss of 39.1 million DALYs annually. The immunomodulatory mechanisms of household air pollution are poorly understood.

OBJECTIVES: To conduct a systematic review of all studies examining the mechanisms underlying the relationship between household air pollution secondary to solid fuel exposure and acute lower respiratory tract infection to evaluate current available evidence, identify gaps in knowledge and propose future research priorities.

METHODS & MEASURES: We conducted and report the study in accordance with the10 PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) guidelines. A total of 133 articles were fully reviewed and main characteristics were detailed, namely study design and outcome, including in vivo versus in vitro and pollutants analyzed. 36 studies were included in a non-exhaustive review of the innate immune system effects of ambient air pollution, traffic-related air pollution or wood smoke exposure of developed country origin. 1715 studies investigated the effects of HAP-associated solid fuel (biomass or coal smoke) exposure on airway inflammation and innate immune system function.

MAIN RESULTS: Particulate matter may modulate the innate immune system and increase susceptibility to infection through a) alveolar macrophage-driven inflammation, recruitment of neutrophils and disruption of barrier defenses, b) alterations in alveolar macrophage phagocytosis and intracellular killing, and c) increased susceptibility to infection via upregulation of receptors involved in pathogen invasion.

CONCLUSIONS: Household air pollution secondary to the burning of biomass fuels alters  innate immunity, predisposing children to acute lower respiratory tract infections. Data from developing country biomass exposure are scarce. Further study to define the inflammatory response, alterations in phagocytic function and upregulation of receptors important in bacterial and viral binding is needed. These studies have important public health implications and may lead to the design of interventions to improve the health of billions of people daily.

Household air pollution exposures of pregnant women receiving advanced combustion cookstoves in India: Implications for intervention

25 August 2015 10:09 (America/New_York)

Household air pollution exposures of pregnant women receiving advanced combustion cookstoves in India: Implications for intervention. Annals of Global Health, Aug 2015.

Authors: Kalpana Balakrishnan, PhD, Sankar Sambandam, PhD, Santu Ghosh, MSc,Krishnendu Mukhopadhyay, PhD, Mayur Vaswani, B.E, Narendra Arora, MD, DarbyJack, PhD, Ajay Pillariseti, MPH, Michael N. Bates, PhD, Kirk R. Smith, PhD.

Background – Household air pollution (HAP) resulting from the use of solid cooking fuels is a leadingcontributor to the burden of disease in India. Advanced combustion cookstoves that reduce emissions from biomass fuels have been considered as potential interventions to reduce this burden. Relatively little effort has yet been directed, however, to assessing the concentration and exposure changes associated with the introduction of such devices in households.

Objectives- The study aimed to describe HAP exposure patterns in pregnant women receiving a forced-draft advanced combustion cookstove (Philips model HD 4012) in the SOMAARTH Demographic Development & Environmental Surveillance Site (DDESS) Palwal District, Haryana, India. The monitoring was performed as part of a feasibility study to inform a potential large-scale HAP intervention (Newborn stove trial) directed at pregnant women and newborns.

Methods – We designed the study as a paired comparison exercise with measurements of 24-hr personal exposures and kitchen area concentrations of carbon monoxide (CO) and particulate matter less than 2.5 µm in aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5), before and after the cookstove intervention.Women (n=65) were recruited from 4 villages of SOMAARTH DDESS. Measurements were performed across winter and summer seasons, between December 2011 and March 2013. Ambient measurements of PM2.5 were also performed throughout the study period.

Findings – Measurements showed modest improvements in 24-hour average concentrations and exposures for PM2.5 and CO (ranging from 16 to 57%) with the use of the new stoves. Only those for CO showed statistically significant reductions.

Conclusion – Our results do not support the widespread use of this stove in this population as a means to reliably provide health relevant reductions in HAP exposures for pregnant women, when compared to open biomass cookstoves. The feasibility assessment identified multiple factors related to user requirements and scale of adoption within communities that affect the field efficacy of advanced combustion cookstoves as well as their potential performance in HAP intervention studies.

 

 

The role of civil society organizations in low-carbon innovation in Kenya

25 August 2015 10:01 (America/New_York)

The role of civil society organizations in low-carbon innovation in Kenya. Innovation and Development, Aug 2015.

Authors: Benard O. Muok and Ann Kingiri. African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS), P. O. Box 45917, 00100 Nairobi, Kenya

There has been growing interest in understanding innovation in developing countries. This is in recognition of the fact that low- and middle-income economies typically have ‘developing’ innovation systems characterized by relatively weak institutions and fragmented actor constellations that restrain interactive learning. The current innovation systems literature tends to overestimate the role of governments as agents of resource allocation while underestimating the importance of civil society in improving basic institutions of the market economy. This literature tends to overlook the particularly important role of non-governmental actors, such as grassroots civil societies in grassroots innovation.

This paper seeks to address two basic questions: How important is the role played by civil society organizations in low-carbon innovation systems? What are the specific roles and what challenges do they face in performing these roles? The paper analyses the role of civil society through the lens of low-carbon innovation. Empirical data were generated using both structured and semi-structured questionnaires targeting innovators in a low-carbon innovation country: Kenya. The paper shows that civil society plays a crucial role in low carbon
innovation in terms of learning and competence-building in Kenya. The study recommends major interventions in terms of a policy framework to recognize and institutionalize civil society as important players in innovation at the grassroots level.

Study protocol: the effects of air pollution exposure and chronic respiratory disease on pneumonia risk in urban Malawian adults

19 August 2015 11:51 (America/New_York)

Study protocol: the effects of air pollution exposure and chronic respiratory disease on pneumonia risk in urban Malawian adults – the Acute Infection of the Respiratory Tract Study (The AIR Study)BMC Pulmonary Medicine, Aug 2015.

Authors: Hannah Jary, Jane Mallew, et al.

Background – Pneumonia is the 2nd leading cause of years of life lost worldwide and is a common cause of adult admissions to hospital in sub-Saharan Africa. Risk factors for adult pneumonia are well characterised in developed countries, but are less well described in sub-Saharan Africa where HIV is a major contributing factor. Exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution is high, and tobacco smoking prevalence is increasing in sub-Saharan Africa, yet the contribution of these factors to the burden of chronic respiratory diseases in sub-Saharan Africa remains poorly understood. Furthermore, the extent to which the presence of chronic respiratory diseases and exposure to air pollution contribute to the burden of pneumonia is not known.

Design – The Acute Infection of the Respiratory Tract Study (The AIR Study) is a case–control study to identify preventable risk factors for adult pneumonia in the city of Blantyre, Malawi. Cases will be adults admitted with pneumonia, recruited from Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, the largest teaching hospital in Malawi. Controls will be adults without pneumonia, recruited from the community. The AIR Study will recruit subjects and analyse data within strata defined by positive and negative HIV infection status. All participants will undergo thorough assessment for a range of potential preventable risk factors, with an emphasis on exposure to air pollution and the presence of chronic respiratory diseases. This will include collection of questionnaire data, clinical samples (blood, urine, sputum and breath samples), lung function data and air pollution monitoring in their home. Multivariate analysis will be used to identify the important risk factors contributing to the pneumonia burden in this setting. Identification of preventable risk factors will justify research into the effectiveness of targeted interventions to address this burden in the future.

Discussion – The AIR Study is the first study of radiologically confirmed pneumonia in which air pollution exposure measurements have been undertaken in this setting, and will contribute important new information about exposure to air pollution in urban SSA. Through identification of preventable risk factors, the AIR Study aims to facilitate future research and implementation of targeted interventions to reduce the high burden of pneumonia in SSA.

Can improved biomass cookstoves contribute to REDD+ in low-income countries?

19 August 2015 11:40 (America/New_York)

Can improved biomass cookstoves contribute to REDD+ in low-income countries? evidence from a controlled cooking test trial with randomized behavioral treatments, 2015. World Bank.

Authors: Beyene, Abebe D.; Bluffstone, Randall; et al.

This paper provides field experiment–based evidence on the potential additional forest carbon sequestration that cleaner and more fuel-efficient cookstoves might generate. The paper focuses on the Mirt (meaning “best”) cookstove, which is used to bake injera, the staple food in Ethiopia. The analysis finds that the technology generates per-meal fuel savings of 22 to 31 percent compared with a traditional three-stone stove with little or no increase in cooking time. Because approximately 88 percent of harvests from Ethiopian forests are unsustainable, these findings suggest that the Mirt stove, and potentially improved cookstoves more generally, can contribute to reduced forest degradation.

These savings may be creditable under the United Nations Collaborative Program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries. Because of the highly specific nature of the Mirt stove and the lack of refrigeration in rural Ethiopia, rebound effects are unlikely, but this analysis was unable completely to rule out such leakage. The conclusions are therefore indicative, pending evidence on the frequency of Mirt stove use in the field. The effects of six randomized behavioral treatments on fuelwood and cooking time outcomes were also evaluated, but limited effects were found.

 

Fred Colgan, co-founder of InStove – Cookstoves for the World’s Poorest Communities

12 August 2015 14:40 (America/New_York)

Fred Colgan, co-founder of InStove – Cookstoves for the World’s Poorest Communities, 2015.

InStove (instove.org) implements safe, clean, and highly efficient institutional cookstoves and allied technologies in an integrated approach to serving the world’s poorest communities. InStove technologies are now in service in 27 countries, including 17 in sub-Saharan Africa where they mitigate environmental harm, protect and feed women, children and displaced people, and help communities to be self-sustaining and economically independent. Fred Colgan, co-founder of InStove, will discuss InStove’s progress and current projects in this update to his April 21, 2013 Forum presentation.

 

Poverty, Energy Use, Air Pollution and Health in Ghana: A Spatial Analysis

12 August 2015 14:37 (America/New_York)

Poverty, Energy Use, Air Pollution and Health in Ghana: A Spatial Analysis, 2015. Doctoral dissertation,Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Author: Arku, Raphael E. 2015.

Under-five mortality is declining in most countries. Very few studies have measured under-five mortality, and its social and environmental determinants, at fine spatial resolutions, which is relevant for policy purposes. Our aim was to estimated under-five mortality and its social and environmental determinants at the district level in Ghana.

 

Impacts of household energy programs on fuel consumption in Benin, Uganda, and India

12 August 2015 14:32 (America/New_York)

Impacts of household energy programs on fuel consumption in Benin, Uganda, and IndiaEnergy for Sustainable Development, Volume 27, August 2015, Pages 168–173.

Authors: Charity Garland, Kirstie Jagoe, Emmy Wasirwa Raphael Nguyen, Christa Roth, Ashwin Patele Nisha Shah, Elisa Derby, John Mitchell, David Pennise, Michael A. Johnson

This paper presents results of three United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) sponsored field studies which assessed the fuel consumption impacts of household energy programs in Benin, Uganda, and Gujarat, India. These studies expand on a previous round of U.S. EPA supported efforts to build field testing capacity and collect stove performance data in Peru, Nepal, and Maharashtra, India.

Daily fuel consumption estimates of traditional and intervention technologies were made using the Kitchen Performance Test (KPT) protocol to determine the potential fuel savings associated with the respective programs. The programs in Benin and Gujarat, India resulted in significant fuel savings of approximately 29% and 61%, respectively. In Uganda, the homes using liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) consumed approximately 31% less charcoal than those not using LPG, although the total energy consumption per household was similar between the baseline and LPG user groups.

Global risk factor rankings: the importance of age-based health loss inequities caused by alcohol and other risk factors

12 August 2015 14:28 (America/New_York)

Global risk factor rankings: the importance of age-based health loss inequities caused by alcohol and other risk factors. BMC Research Notes, June 2015.

Authors: Kevin D Shield and Jürgen Rehm

Background – Achieving health equity is a priority of the World Health Organization; however, there is a scant amount of literature on this topic. As the underlying influences that determine health loss caused by risk factors are age-dependent, the aim of this paper is to examine how the risk factor rankings for health loss differ by age.

Methods – Rankings were based on data obtained from the 2010 Global Burden of Disease study. Health loss (as measured by Disability Adjusted Life Years lost) by risk factor was estimated using Population-Attributable Fractions, years of life lost due to premature mortality, and years lived with disability, which were calculated for 187 countries, 20 age groups and both sexes. Uncertainties of the risk factor rankings were estimated using 1,000 simulations taken from posterior distributions.

Results – The top risk factors by age were: household air pollution for neonates 0–6 days of age [95% uncertainty interval (UI): 1 to 1]; suboptimal breast feeding for children 7–27 days of age (95% UI: 1–1); childhood underweight for children 28 days to less than 1 year of age and 1–4 years of age (95% UI: 1–2 and 1–1, respectively); iron deficiency for children and youth 5–14 years of age (95% UI: 1–1); alcohol use for people 15–49 years of age (95% UI: 1–2); and dietary risks for people 50 years of age and older (95% UI: 1–1). Rankings of risk factors varied by sex among the older age groups. Alcohol and smoking were the most important risk factors among men 15 years of age and older, and high body mass and intimate partner violence were some of the most important risk factors among women 15 years of age and older.

Conclusions – Our analyses confirm that the relative importance of risk factors is age-dependent. Therefore, preventing harms caused by various modifiable risk factors using interventions that target people of different ages should be a priority, especially since easily implemented and cost-effective public health interventions exist.

Cooking and Season as Risk Factors for Acute Lower Respiratory Infections in African Children: A Cross-Sectional Multi-Country Analysis

12 August 2015 14:25 (America/New_York)

Cooking and Season as Risk Factors for Acute Lower Respiratory Infections in African Children: A Cross-Sectional Multi-Country Analysis. PLoS ONE, June 2015.

Authors: Hannes Buchner , Eva A. Rehfuess

Background - Acute lower respiratory infections (ALRI) are a leading cause of death among African children under five. A significant proportion of these are attributable to household air pollution from solid fuel use.

Methods - We assessed the relationship between cooking practices and ALRI in pooled datasets of Demographic and Health Surveys conducted between 2000 and 2011 in countries of sub-Saharan Africa. The impacts of main cooking fuel, cooking location and stove ventilation were examined in 18 (n = 56,437), 9 (n = 23,139) and 6 countries (n = 14,561) respectively. We used a causal diagram and multivariable logistic mixed models to assess the influence of covariates at individual, regional and national levels.

Results - Main cooking fuel had a statistically significant impact on ALRI risk (p<0.0001), with season acting as an effect modifier (p = 0.034). During the rainy season, relative to clean fuels, the odds of suffering from ALRI were raised for kerosene (OR 1.64; CI: 0.99, 2.71), coal and charcoal (OR 1.54; CI: 1.21, 1.97), wood (OR 1.20; CI: 0.95, 1.51) and lower-grade biomass fuels (OR 1.49; CI: 0.93, 2.35). In contrast, during the dry season the corresponding odds were reduced for kerosene (OR 1.23; CI: 0.77, 1.95), coal and charcoal (OR 1.35; CI: 1.06, 1.72) and lower-grade biomass fuels (OR 1.07; CI: 0.69, 1.66) but increased for wood (OR 1.32; CI: 1.04, 1.66). Cooking location also emerged as a season-dependent statistically significant (p = 0.0070) determinant of ALRI, in particular cooking indoors without a separate kitchen during the rainy season (OR 1.80; CI: 1.30, 2.50). Due to infrequent use in Africa we could, however, not demonstrate an effect of stove ventilation.

Conclusions - We found differential and season-dependent risks for different types of solid fuels and kerosene as well as cooking location on child ALRI. Future household air pollution studies should consider potential effect modification of cooking fuel by season.

Impact of exposure to cooking fuels on stillbirths, perinatal, very early and late neonatal mortality – a multicenter prospective cohort study in rural communities in India, Pakistan, Kenya, Zambia and Guatemala

4 August 2015 12:11 (America/New_York)

Impact of exposure to cooking fuels on stillbirths, perinatal, very early and late neonatal mortality – a multicenter prospective cohort study in rural communities in India, Pakistan, Kenya, Zambia and GuatemalaMaternal Health, Neonatology and Perinatology, 2015, 1:18.

Authors: Archana B. Patel, Sreelatha Meleth, et al.

Corresponding author: Archana B Patel: dr_apatel@yahoo.com

Background: Consequences of exposure to household air pollution (HAP) from biomass fuels used for cooking on neonatal deaths and stillbirths is poorly understood. In a large multi-country observational study, we examined whether exposure to HAP was associated with perinatal mortality (stillbirths from gestation week 20 and deaths through day 7 of life) as well as when the deaths occurred (macerated, non-macerated stillbirths, very early neonatal mortality (day 0–2) and later neonatal mortality (day 3–28).

Questions addressing household fuel use were asked at pregnancy, delivery, and neonatal follow-up visits in a prospective cohort study of pregnant women in rural communities in five low and lower middle income countries participating in the Global Network for Women and Children’s Health’s Maternal and Newborn Health Registry. The study was conducted between May 2011 and October 2012. Polluting fuels included kerosene, charcoal, coal, wood, straw, crop waste and dung. Clean fuels included electricity, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), natural gas and biogas.

Results: We studied the outcomes of 65,912 singleton pregnancies, 18 % from households using clean fuels (59 % LPG) and 82 % from households using polluting fuels (86 % wood). Compared to households cooking with clean fuels, there was an increased risk of perinatal mortality among households using polluting fuels (adjusted relative risk (aRR) 1.44, 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.30-1.61). Exposure to HAP increased the risk of having a macerated stillbirth (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1.66, 95%CI 1.23-2.25), non-macerated stillbirth (aOR 1.43, 95 % CI 1.15-1.85) and very early neonatal mortality (aOR 1.82, 95 % CI 1.47-2.22).

Conclusions: Perinatal mortality was associated with exposure to HAP from week 20 of pregnancy through at least day 2 of life. Since pregnancy losses before labor and delivery are difficult to track, the effect of exposure to polluting fuels on global perinatal mortality may have previously been underestimated.

 

 

Quantitative Guidance for Stove Usage and Performance to Achieve Health and Environmental Targets

4 August 2015 12:04 (America/New_York)

Quantitative Guidance for Stove Usage and Performance to Achieve Health and Environmental Targets. Env Health Perspec, Aug 2015.

Authors: Michael A. Johnson and Ranyee A. Chiang

Background: Displacing the use of polluting and inefficient cookstoves in developing countries is necessary to achieve the potential health and environmental benefits sought through clean cooking solutions. Yet little quantitative context has been provided on how much displacement of traditional technologies is needed to achieve targets for household air pollutant concentrations or fuel savings.

Objectives: This paper provides instructive guidance on the usage of cooking technologies required to achieve health and environmental improvements.

Methods: We evaluated different scenarios of displacement of traditional stoves with use of higher performing technologies. The air quality and fuel consumption impacts were estimated for these scenarios using a single-zone box model of indoor air quality and ratios of thermal efficiency.

Results: Stove performance and usage should be considered together, as lower performing stoves can result in similar or greater benefits than a higher performing stove if the lower performing stove has considerably higher displacement of the baseline stove. Based on the indoor air quality model, there are multiple performance–usage scenarios for achieving modest indoor air quality improvements. To meet World Health Organization guidance levels, however, three-stone fire and basic charcoal stove usage must be nearly eliminated to achieve the particulate matter target (< 1–3 hr/week), and substantially limited to meet the carbon monoxide guideline (< 7–9 hr/week).

Conclusions: Moderate health gains may be achieved with various performance–usage scenarios. The greatest benefits are estimated to be achieved by near-complete displacement of traditional stoves with clean technologies, emphasizing the need to shift in the long term to near exclusive use of clean fuels and stoves. The performance–usage scenarios are also provided as a tool to guide technology selection and prioritize behavior change opportunities to maximize impact.

 

Is air pollution a risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis?

4 August 2015 12:01 (America/New_York)

Is air pollution a risk factor for rheumatoid arthritisJournal of Inflammation, 2015, 12:48.

Authors: Mickael Essouma and Jean Jacques N. Noubiap

Corresponding author: Mickael Essouma essmic@rocketmail.com; essoumam@gmail.com

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory debilitating disease triggered by a complex interaction involving genetic and environmental factors. Active smoking and occupational exposures such as silica increase its risk, suggesting that initial inflammation and generation of rheumatoid arthritis-related autoantibodies in the lungs may precede the clinical disease. This hypothesis paved the way to epidemiological studies investigating air pollution as a potential determinant of rheumatoid arthritis. Studies designed for epidemiology of rheumatoid arthritis found a link between traffic, a surrogate of air pollution, and this disease.

Furthermore, a small case–control study recently found an association between wood smoke exposure and anticyclic citrullinated protein/peptide antibody in sera of patients presenting wood-smoke-related chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. However, reports addressing impact of specific pollutants on rheumatoid arthritis incidence and severity across populations are somewhat conflicting. In addition to the link reported between other systemic autoimmune rheumatic diseases and particulate matters/gaseous pollutants, experimental observation of exacerbated rheumatoid arthritis incidence and severity in mice models of collagen-induced arthritis after diesel exhaust particles exposure as well as hypovitaminosis D-related autoimmunity can help understand the role of air pollution in rheumatoid arthritis.

All these considerations highlight the necessity to extend high quality epidemiological researches investigating different sources of atmospheric pollution across populations and particularly in low-and-middle countries, in order to further explore the biological plausibility of air pollution’s effect in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis. This should be attempted to better inform policies aiming to reduce the burden of rheumatoid arthritis.

From Theory to Practice of Change: Lessons from SNV’s Improved Cookstoves and Fuel Projects in Cambodia, Kenya, Nepal and Rwanda

4 August 2015 11:54 (America/New_York)

From Theory to Practice of Change: Lessons from SNV’s Improved Cookstoves and Fuel Projects in Cambodia, Kenya, Nepal and Rwanda, 2015. Stockholm Environment Institute.

Authors: Oliver Johnson, Hannah Wanjiru, et al.

This report compares the approach to cookstoves of SNV, the Netherlands Development Organisation, with evidence from the sector about how interventions can lead to market transformation.

Case studies of improved cookstove and fuels projects in Cambodia, Kenya, Nepal and Rwanda are analysed to examine the potential for successful scale-up and local market transformation. The aim is to understand the quality of SNV’s improved cookstove and fuel interventions in order to inform and improve future practice.

There is growing awareness of the need to take a systems perspective to stimulate cookstove market transformation. A more holistic approach to cookstove interventions is emerging that combines efforts to understand users, link up actors, develop effective business models, and create an enabling environment. Many organizations are adopting this vision, but putting it into practice is not easy. It also takes time, as it requires partnerships and new modes of working.

The case study analysis finds that a holistic approach to cookstove market transformation, including capacity-building activities, is common to all the programmes examined. It finds flexibility in the exact mode of engagement and technological focus in each country, determined by local contextual factors. Drawing on the case studies, three key features are found to characterize SNV’s cookstove programmes: emphasis on knowledge co-creation, commitment to trust-building, and freedom to adapt. This enables SNV to be a dynamic learning organization, willing and able to reflect and improve

Uncertainties in global aerosols and climate effects due to biofuel emissions

4 August 2015 11:48 (America/New_York)

Uncertainties in global aerosols and climate effects due to biofuel emissions. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 8577–8596, 2015.

J. K. Kodros, C. E. Scott, et al. Correspondence to: J. K. Kodros (jkodros@atmos.colostate.edu)

To better understand the climate impact of particle emissions from biofuel combustion, we recommend field/laboratory measurements to narrow constraints on (1) emissions mass, (2) emission size distribution, (3) mixing state, and (4) ratio of black carbon to organic aerosol

Smarter Subsidies for LPG

4 August 2015 11:45 (America/New_York)

Smarter Subsidies for LPG: Working Paper,  2015.

Authors: Alok Tripathi, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas; Ambuj D. Sagar, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi; Kirk R. Smith, University of California Berkeley

What would the LPG subsidy in the nation look like once such a “smart subsidy” program was in place for a few years? The answer in detail would have to consider changes in income, population, household size, urbanization, oil price, and status of alternative fuels including electrification and piped natural gas, among other factors.

Air Pollution and Impact Analysis of a Pilot Stove Intervention: Report to the Ministry of Health and Inter-Ministerial Clean Stove Initiative of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic

4 August 2015 11:39 (America/New_York)

Air Pollution and Impact Analysis of a Pilot Stove Intervention: Report to the Ministry of Health and Inter-Ministerial Clean Stove Initiative of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, 2015.

Authors: Hill LD, Pillarisetti A, Delapena S, Garland C, Jagoe K, Koetting P, Pelletreau A, Boatman MR, Pennise D, Smith KR.

This study evaluated the usage, air pollution, and fuel-use performance of an introduced advanced biomass stove (African Clean Energy (ACE)-1) based on measurements in 72 households in three villages of the Xonboury District of Savannakhet Province in early 2015. This amounted to 23 percent of all the households in these villages.

The report describes comparisons between household measurements conducted before stove introduction and those conducted approximately two weeks after introduction in the same households. Based on the best available health effects information, the report also estimates the potential health benefits of a large-scale introduction of this ACE-1 stove in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) compared to traditional biomass stoves, assuming the new ACE-1 stoves were to perform similarly in the large program.

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