Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists Launch International Study of Open-Fire Cooking and Air Quality

05.11.2012
Expanding its focus on the link between the atmosphere and human health, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is launching a three-year, international study into the impact of open-fire cooking on regional air quality and disease.

The study will break new ground by bringing together atmospheric scientists, engineers, statisticians, and social scientists who will analyze the effects of smoke from traditional cooking methods on households, villages, and entire regions.

Researchers will combine newly developed sensors with computer and statistical models to look at what happens to human health when traditional cooking methods are used. They will also evaluate whether newer, more efficient cookstoves could reduce disease and positively affect regional air quality.

The project brings together a diverse team of pollution, climate, and health experts from NCAR, the University of Colorado Boulder, University of Ghana School of Public Health, and Ghana Health Services. Funding comes from the National Science Foundation, NCAR’s sponsor.

The researchers will focus primarily on northern Ghana, where they will examine possible links between air pollutants and such diseases as meningitis. Their findings are expected to provide information to policymakers and health officials in other developing countries where open-fire cooking or inefficient stoves are common.

“Often when you visit remote villages in Ghana, they’re shrouded in haze for many miles from all the fires used for cooking,” says NCAR scientist Christine Wiedinmyer, an atmospheric chemist overseeing the project. “Given that an estimated three billion people worldwide are cooking over fire and smoke, we need to better understand how these pollutants are affecting public health as well as regional air quality and even the climate.”

Wiedinmyer and her colleagues will use a novel combination of local and regional air quality measurements—including specialized smartphone applications that are more mobile than traditional air quality sensors—and cutting-edge computer models of weather, air quality, and climate. The researchers and student assistants will also survey villagers to get their views on possible connections between open-fire cooking and disease as well as their interest in adopting different cooking methods.

Cooking fires in developing countries are a leading source of carbon monoxide, particulates, and smog. These can cause a variety of symptoms, ranging from relatively mild ailments, such as headaches and nausea, to potentially life-threatening conditions, including cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

The fires also emit carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases that, when mixed into the global atmosphere, can affect weather patterns and warm the climate. As regional temperatures warm, that in turn can act to increase the level of air pollution, thereby potentially leading to greater health risks.

The project builds on other NCAR projects studying links between the atmosphere and human health. These include the development of specialized forecasts of weather conditions associated with the beginning and end of outbreaks of meningitis in Africa.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to continue working with our collaborators in Ghana and to help alleviate a major health problem across the Sahel of Africa,” says NCAR’s Mary Hayden, a medical anthropologist. “Bringing together an international transdisciplinary team of social scientists with climatologists, atmospheric chemists, and engineers to tackle the problem is the first step in addressing these complex human-environmental problems.”

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research manages the National Center for Atmospheric Research under sponsorship by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

News releases, visuals, and more:
www.ucar.edu/atmosnews
David Hosansky, NCAR/UCAR Media Relations
303-497-8611
hosansky@ucar.edu
Zhenya Gallon, NCAR/UCAR Media Relations
303-497-8607
zhenya@ucar.edu
Christine Wiedinmyer, NCAR atmospheric chemist
303-497-1414
christin@ucar.edu
Mary Hayden, NCAR medical anthropologist
303-497-8116
mhayden@ucar.edu

David Hosansky | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.ucar.edu/atmosnews

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Obstructing the ‘inner eye’
07.07.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

nachricht Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>