The authors conducted continuous measurements of kitchen carbon monoxide (CO) concentrations and personal exposures in 102 households. Median 48-h kitchen and personal CO concentrations were 7.3 and 6.5 ppm, respectively, for three-stone stoves, while the corresponding concentrations for RMS were 5.8 and 4.4 ppm.
After adjusting for kitchen location, ventilation, socio-economic status, and fuel moisture content, the use of RMS was associated with 33% lower levels of kitchen CO [95% Confidence Interval (CI), 64.4–25.1%] and 42% lower levels of personal CO (95% CI, 66.0–1.1%) as compared to three-stone stoves. Thus, RMS appear to lower kitchen and personal CO concentrations compared to the traditional three-stone stoves. Overall, however, the CO concentrations remain high, above the World Health Organization guideline of 7 μg/m3, suggesting the unvented RMSs on their own are unlikely to appreciably benefit health in this population.
Greater air quality benefits could be realized if the stoves were complemented with behaviour change, including education on extinguishing fires when not in use as well as fuel drying, and cooking in locations that are separate from the main house.
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