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Cooking Stoves, Indoor Air Pollution and Respiratory Health in Rural Orissa

Esther Duflo, Michael Greenstone, Rema Hanna

Economic & Political Weekly, Vol. 43, No. 32, pp. 71-76, Special Issue, August 09 - August 15, 2008

Esther Duflo, Michael Greenstone, Rema Hanna, Economic & Political Weekly, Vol. 43, No. 32, pp. 71-76, Special Issue, August 09 - August 15, 2008

Indoor air pollution emitted from traditional fuels and cooking stoves is a potentially large health threat in rural regions. This paper reports the results of a survey of traditional stove ownership and health among 2,400 households in rural Orissa. We find a very high incidence of respiratory illness. About one-third of the adults and half of the children in the survey had experienced symptoms of respiratory illness in the 30 days preceding the survey, with 10 per cent of adults and 20 per cent of children experiencing a serious cough. We find a high correlation between using a traditional stove and having symptoms of respiratory illness. We cannot, however, rule out the possibility that the high level of observed respiratory illness is due to other factors that also contribute to a household’s decision to use a traditional stove, such as poverty, health preferences and the bargaining power of women in the household.

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