Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves

This Week in EPA Science

By Kacey FitzpatrickResearch Recap Graphic Identifier: Thanksgiving Edition

I come from a big family so on holidays – Thanksgiving in particular – the kitchen can get pretty hectic. This inevitably ends with someone breaking, spilling, or burning something.

While a burnt turkey would be a major disappointment to some of us, it’s the least of kitchen worries for nearly half of the people in the world, who rely on the use of open fires and traditional cookstoves and fuels to cook their food. Cookstove smoke is a major contributor to dangerous indoor air quality, affecting the health of millions.

EPA is an international leader in clean cookstove research and we’ve highlighted some of those efforts this week.

  • Clean Cookstoves Research: An Opportunity to Benefit Billions
    Bryan Bloomer, Ph.D. joined EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and other prominent leaders this week at the first ever ministerial- and CEO-level Cookstoves Future Summit, “Fueling Markets, Catalyzing Action, Changing Lives,” in New York City.
    Read more.
  • EPA Clean Cookstove Research
    EPA provides independent scientific data on cookstove emissions and energy efficiency to support the development of cleaner sustainable cooking technologies. EPA also conducts studies to understand the health effects from exposure to emissions from cookstoves.
    Read more.

And here’s some more research that has been highlighted this week.

  • Highlighting the Health-protective Properties of Alaskan Berries (your Elders already knew)
    Regions of the Alaskan arctic tundra are considered to be on the ‘front lines’ of climate change. The climate exerts a decisive impact on terrestrial plants, including the wild indigenous berries that thrive even above the tree line, the most hostile environments throughout the state.
    Read more.
  • UMass Amherst Receives $4.1 million EPA grant for Drinking Water Research
    EPA award a grant of $4.1 million to the University of Massachuessets, Amherst to establish the Water Innovation Network for Sustainable Small Systems (WINSS), which will develop and test advanced, low-cost methods to reduce, control and eliminate various groups of water contaminants in small water treatment systems.
    Read more.

If you have any comments or questions about what I share or about the week’s events, please submit them below in the comments section!

 

About the Author: Student contractor Kacey Fitzpatrick is thankful for her new job writing about EPA research for the Agency’s Office of Research and Development.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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EPA Helps Lead the Way in Cleaning Up Stoves

By Katie Lubinsky

Cookstoves for testingIt kills approximately 1.9  million people each year, is the fourth worst overall environmental health risk in developing countries, and contributes to chronic illnesses including pneumonia, lung cancer and  cardiovascular disease. The source of such harmful health effects? Smoke from open fires and cookstoves used by people in developing countries.

EPA, as part of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, is helping to lead the way in testing cookstove technologies. Recently, I spoke with EPA’s Jim Jetter, the lead author on the most extensive, independent study of air pollutant emissions and energy efficiency on cookstoves done to date. Results of the study were published in the October issue of Environmental Science and Technology.

EPA researcher testing a cookstove.

I discovered that Jim’s research involved the testing of 22 cookstoves using a wide variety of fuels, such as biomass and wood products. His research team measured emissions of air pollutants including carbon monoxide and particles known to cause health effects. Researchers also tested the stoves for energy efficiency.

One question that popped in my head was, “Do cookstove emissions from other countries affect the United States?”  And it seems there is strong evidence from other studies that parts of the U.S. are affected by air pollution from Asia.  Cookstove emissions largely contribute to the formation of ‘brown clouds,’ over countries like Asia. These brown clouds can travel between continents and potentially cause health effects … but that’s not all.

Cookstove fuels release greenhouse gases and black carbon when burned, which contributes to climate change. In fact, about 20 percent of black carbon emissions worldwide come from cookstoves.

While research continues, EPA reaches out with a challenge to college students to design a better, more efficiently designed cookstove:

Our “People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3)” sustainable design competition has a category specifically addressing clean energy and cookstoves. Submit your ideas, and you could be awarded a grant of up to $15,000 to support concept development.  But hurry!  The deadline for applicants in the P3 competition is Dec. 11th. Get the details for how to apply for a P3 grant here: http://www.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/2013/2013_p3.html.

To read more about the recently-released study on clean cookstove, click here.

About the author: Katie Lubinsky is a student contractor working with EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.