The Challenges

Indoor Air Pollution

Children in the developing world are seriously affected by traditional cooking methods that lead to indoor air pollution.

Indoor air pollution has been called "the killer in the kitchen." The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 4.3 million women and children die each year from the effects of this pollution, and millions more are chronically sickened. This toxic pollution is caused by billions of people cooking meals indoors, over open fires.

Worldwide, more than 3 billion people still rely on biomass fuels (wood, dung, and agricultural wastes) for their daily cooking and energy needs. Cooking with wood over an open fire fills kitchens with smoke; smoke that contains dangerous levels of particulates and carbon monoxide. This heavy exposure has been likened to smoking five packs of cigarettes a day. Breathing the toxic smoke from open cooking fires can lead to acute respiratory illness, pneumonia, cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Women and children are most seriously affected, as they are the family members who spend the most time in the kitchen.

Indoor air pollution is the leading cause of death world-wide among children under five, and is responsible for 2.7% of the total global burden of disease. Open cooking fires also contribute to eye irritation and create an on-going danger of serious burns to children who may be playing near them.

Trees, Water & People's clean cookstoves include a chimney that vents smoke out of the home. Emissions testing conducted on our stoves indicates that the chimney, by removing the toxic smoke, also reduces carbon monoxide and particulate matter by more than 80 percent.

To learn more about the deadly effects of indoor air pollution please visit The World Health Organization.