Assessment of Environmental Health Benefits of Improved Wood Stoves in Rural Kenya

Date: Monday 28 January 2013
Time: 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Venue: Jerry Morris A, LSHTM, 15-17 Tavistock Place, London, WC1H 9SH, UK
Type of event: Seminar
Speaker(s): Caroline Ochieng, PhD Candidate


Use of biomass fuel on traditional stoves has negative impacts on human health and welfare, as well as negative impacts on the environment. Improved wood stoves have been promoted as an intervention for reducing these impacts, but very few studies have assessed their benefits under actual conditions of use, hence there is limited evidence for their promotion. This thesis aimed to assess the benefits of an improved wood stove (rocket mud stove) in reducing household air pollution and fuel use in rural households in Kenya. Using two complementary study designs, cross-sectional and longitudinal, we compared household air pollution and fuel use between households with rocket mud stoves (RMS) and households with three-stone stoves after accounting for covariates.




RMS appeared to lower kitchen and personal CO concentrations especially during cooking periods. In the cross-sectional sample, use of RMS was associated with 33% (95% Confidence Interval [CI] 64.4%, - 25.1%) lower 48-hr kitchen CO and 42% (95% CI 66.0%, -1.1%) lower personal CO relative to use of three-stone stoves. Corresponding differences in the before-after sample were 10.9% (95% CI 45%, -46%) and 31% (95% CI 70.2%, -62%). Differences in fuel use by stove type were more precise, with RMS use associated with 1.6 kg/day (95% CI -3.1, -0.8) lower fuel use relative to three-stone stoves in the cross-sectional sample, and 2.2 kg/day (95% CI -3.54, -1.07) lower fuel use in the longitudinal sample.




Despite large imprecision in the point estimates of RMS on CO concentrations, the high CO concentrations indicate than even if the largest reductions compatible with the data are considered, RMS are unlikely to reduce exposure to levels that can be beneficial for health. Use of the stoves can however lead to improved human welfare through reduced drudgery and opportunity cost of fuelwood collection.

Admission: Free and open to all with no ticket required

Contact: Cathryn Tonne

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