Johns Hopkins pulmonologist William Checkley discusses “Effects of Cooking with Liquefied Petroleum Gas or Biomass on Stunting in Infants” ¬ — his recent publication in The New England Journal of Medicine. In this study, the researchers conducted a randomized trial of a liquefied petroleum gas stove, continuous free fuel distribution and longitudinal behavioral messaging as a strategy to mitigate household air pollution and improve health. This large trial was conducted in 3,200 households in multiple countries with women who were pregnant, half of whom were randomly assigned to cook using unvented liquefied petroleum stoves. The other half were asked to continue cooking with biomass stoves.
My name is William Checkley and I am a professor of Medicine, International Health and Biostatistics at Johns Hopkins. About 40% of the world's population still use stoves that burn biomass fuels such as wood dung or agricultural crop waste for cooking. Use of biomass for cooking contributes to indoor air pollution in homes and may adversely affect how a child grows. In response to a request by the US National Institutes of Health and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. We conducted a randomized trial of a liquefied petroleum gas stove continues free fuel distribution and longitudinal behavioral messaging as a strategy to mitigate household air pollution and improve health. The trial randomized 3200 households with pregnant women in four countries where biomass use is prevalent. Half of which were randomly assigned to cook using invented liquefied petroleum gas stoves and the other half were asked to continue cooking with biomass stoves. Women were followed through birth and their offspring were followed through their first year of life. We found that measurements of household air pollution from cooking such as fine particulate matter, black carbon and carbon monoxide were substantially lower when households use liquified petroleum gas stoves instead of biomass stoves in both the prenatal and postnatal periods. Indeed, the intervention reduced personal exposure to find particulate matter to levels consistent with the World Health Organization. Intermediate target one for air quality guidelines, we then evaluated whether infants whose households cooked with li hype and gas stoves reduced uh the risk of ST growth. When compared to those whose households cook with biomass stoves, infant length was measured over the course of one year. Using a standardized approach. We found that the intervention strategy was not effective at preventing stunted linear growth in Children. Although it's well recognized that air pollution is hazardous to health. The findings of this trial did not support the use of invented liquified petroleum gas stoves as a strategy to reduce stunting in the first year of life.