Household Air Pollution from Cooking Fires Is a Global Problem : AJN The American Journal of Nursing

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Environments and Health

Household Air Pollution from Cooking Fires Is a Global Problem

Thompson, Lisa M. PhD, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, FAAN

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AJN, American Journal of Nursing 119(11):p 61-64, November 2019. | DOI: 10.1097/


Over the past several decades, important advances have been made in the United States to ensure that our residents breathe clean air. Still, nearly 12 million homes in this country burn wood for heating. Globally, 3 billion people, or close to half of the world's population, depend on polluting solid fuels such as wood for daily cooking and heating. Unlike in the United States where stoves used for heating are vented, many homes in low-income countries use simple stoves that often lack chimneys, leading to toxic amounts of smoke inside and outside the home. Household air pollution from these fires is the 16th leading risk factor for death and disability worldwide. Childhood pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cardiovascular disease have all been associated with household air pollution globally, yet many nurses are not aware of this burden when caring for immigrants and refugees residing in the United States. Global organizations are working to provide access to clean cookstoves (those that run on electricity, solar power, or liquid fuel), and nurses can get involved. This is one step toward improving the lives of vulnerable populations in the United States and worldwide. This series is in collaboration with the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (

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