According to the World Health Organization, people who burn traditional biomass fuels (such as wood, yard clippings, or other plant and animal matter) for indoor cooking and heating have an increased environmental health risk, resulting in an estimated 1.6 million premature deaths per year, mostly among women and children.
If you have a stove that burns wood, coal, or other materials, you can take measures to protect your home and family by decreasing the amount of smoke and particles emitted by your stove. This will help decrease the health risks associated with these appliances.
You can decrease your risk of health risks from smoke from cookstoves and other indoor heating devices by taking the following steps:
- Burn only dry, seasoned wood (wood should be seasoned for at least 6 months before burning).
- Start fires with dry kindling and clean newspaper.
- Refrain from burning plastic, garbage, or pressure treated wood.
- Have your appliance inspected and serviced annually by a certified technician.
- Upgrade to an efficient, EPA-approved wood-burning appliance.
- Always check your local air quality forecast and don’t use your stove on “red burn” days.
In September 2010, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. The Alliance is led by the United Nations Foundations, a public-private partnership focused on creating clean and efficient household appliances and a market in which they can flourish. The goal of the Alliance is to reach “100 by 20,” 100 million homes to adopt clean and efficient fuels and stoves by 2020.