Fuel Choice, Indoor Air Pollution, and Children's Health
Much of the world population, particularly in developing countries, still relies on firewood to meet basic energy needs. The resulting indoor air pollution can have severe health consequences, particularly for young children who spend considerable time in close proximity to the fire while their mothers cook. In this paper we use data from a household survey to examine gas stove adoption, firewood consumption, and the resulting effects on the health of young children in Guatemala. Our findings suggest that cooking with firewood has significant negative impacts on children's respiratory health. We also find strong evidence that these impacts go well beyond respiratory problems and have much broader health effects. Simulation results indicate that policies which attempt to reduce the consumption of wood and/or accelerate the adoption of LPG may not be as effective at improving respiratory health as policies that target cooking habits to directly attempt to reduce exposure by young children. However, broader health effects are more effectively addressed by policies aimed directly at eliminating the use of wood fuel.
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