Health Research Program
Approximately three billion people around the world are still regularly exposed to household air pollution (HAP), fine particulate matter, gases, and other particle sizes that exceed air pollution exposures in even the most polluted urban settings [1]. USAID is working to reduce the adverse affects of household air pollution by supporting programs that encourage the adoption of alternative fuels and clean, affordable cookstoves. This is an effective approach to improve maternal and child health outcomes.  

Health Impacts of HAP Exposure

Household air pollution remains a leading risk factor for disease and premature death worldwide.

Estimate: household air pollution responsible for 2.9 million premature deaths in 2015 [1].

Household air pollution is a leading risk factor for disease and death, especially among women and children.

Source: Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves
Burning biomass (wood, dung, charcoal, and crop waste), coal, and kerosene fuels in traditional and unvented stoves produce high levels of air pollutants, which have adverse health effects on birth, respiratory, and cardiovascular outcomes.

The figure shows various challenges to overcome to help reduce household air pollution and protect health.

Health Benefits of Reducing HAP

"I have seen firsthand the importance of access to energy and clean cookstoves... it must play a central role in our work to ensure the realization of human needs and fundamental rights."

ANTÓNIO GUTERRES - Secretary-General of the United Nations

Successful Interventions

Source: Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves
The photo on the left highlights how cooking on open fires and polluting stoves produces high levels of air pollution in households and communities. Cooking with clean fuels and improved stoves, as seen in the image on the right, can significantly reduce air pollution when technological and behavioral factors work in tandem.

Policies to Reduce HAP