Baseline evaluation of indoor air quality from Nicaraguan households using traditional cook stoves

Bazemore, Heather, author
Reynolds, Stephen J., advisor
Peel, Jennifer L., advisor
Kreidenweis, Sonia M., committee member
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Indoor cook stoves are still used as a primary energy source across the world in many developing countries. Inefficient stoves cause incomplete combustion of biomass fuel, resulting in an unhealthy increase of indoor air pollutants, including carbon monoxide (CO) and particle matter (PM). Use of these stoves is a global problem that must be addressed to help reduce indoor air pollutant exposures and combustion emissions. Most studies assessing traditional cook stoves are limited; the extended length and thorough exposure assessment of this study make it unique, providing better data for evaluation. This part of the study will assess the baseline exposure data from a longitudinal study of 123 Nicaraguan households collected over the summer of 2008. Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) was assessed continuously via 48-hour indoor monitoring using the UCB Particle Monitor. Indoor and personal carbon monoxide levels were assessed continuously via 48-hour indoor and personal monitoring using the lightweight, portable, data-logging Drager Pac 7000. PM2.5 and carbon monoxide indoor sampling devices were collocated inside the kitchen at a height representative of breathing zones. The personal carbon monoxide device was worn by the participant during the day and placed by her bedside overnight. Regression exposure models were developed using variables from the kitchen that can predict ventilation, including amount of eave space, kitchen volume, number of windows, number of doors, number of walls, and primary type of wall material. Cooking practices and activities were also considered in the models including exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, hours spent cooking per day, hours fire burns per day, and hours spent in the room with the fire burning per day. At the end of the summer baseline collection, improved cook stoves were installed in each participating household. High concentrations of indoor air pollution were recorded in households using traditional cook stoves. For indoor carbon monoxide, mean concentrations were 146 ppm (1-hour max), 67 ppm (8-hour max), and 26 ppm (48-hour). For personal CO, mean concentrations were 32 ppm (1-hour max), 8 ppm (8-hour max), and 2 ppm (48-hour). For indoor PM2.5, mean concentrations were 11,272 μg/m3 (1-hour max), 3655 μg/m3 (8-hour max), and 1364 μg/m3 (48-hour). In exposure assessment models, kitchen volume and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke were found to explain the most variation in indoor carbon monoxide levels. For personal carbon monoxide, number of doors and hours spent cooking per day influenced levels most. Amount of eave space and environmental tobacco smoke explained the most variation in indoor PM2.5 levels. Peaks in pollutant exposure were also evaluated in assessment models. However, all model results should be interpreted with caution. R-square values were very low for these models, meaning that the variables we collected data on did not explain much variation in pollutant concentrations. The data collected on exposure parameters did not explain much variation in indoor air quality. Further research is needed as to which housing factors and/or cooking practices affect pollutant levels most.
Department Head: Jac A. Nickoloff.
2010 Spring.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 101-107).
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