Make cooking safe for all — including those in developing countries, say indoor air pollution experts

Developing countries should focus on keeping unnecessary occupants, such as children, out of kitchens during cooking to help reduce their exposure to dangerous levels of air pollution, recommends a study by the University of Surrey.

Researchers from Surrey’s Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) also highlighted the benefits of using cleaner fuels and electric appliances that help reduce carbon dioxide levels within a kitchen by more than 32 per cent, compared to the use of polluting fuels.

Professor Prashant Kumar, lead author and the Founding Director of GCARE at the University of Surrey, said:

“We appreciate some of our recommendations might be less feasible for low-income households in studied countries — but we felt it critical to arm people with the knowledge and awareness to encourage governments and aid organisations to directly support more sustainable and higher impact interventions.

“As a result, we hope that decision-makers in many of these countries would now begin the foundational work of promoting cleaner fuels for cooking and safer habits within kitchens.”

The study is the first to monitor 60 low-income kitchens across Asia, South America, the Middle East and Africa for carbon dioxide exposure, ventilation and thermal comfort.

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