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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Nov. 25 (Bloomberg) — On Thanksgiving, we cook and, if we’re doing it right, we give sincere thanks for being alive. But we rarely think of how the two really interact. We don’t recognize that in many parts of the world, cooking provides not just nourishment and pleasure but sometimes harm and death. Thankfully, there’s a solution on the way.

The consequences of cooking may be the least-known major health problem in the world. According to the World Health Organization, almost 2 million people a year — mostly women and children — die from diseases (pneumonia, cancer, pulmonary and heart ailments) that are connected to smoke from dirty stoves and open fires. Toxic fumes from cooking in poorly ventilated dwellings kill more people than AIDS and tuberculosis, and twice as many as malaria.

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  • cemab4y

    This saves lives.

  • jgharsha

    Besides using fuel-efficient stoves, NGOs throughout the U.S. have been sending solar stoves and ovens to third-world countries for years. Solar is free, clean and effective. You can cook just about anything in a solar cooking device. Of course, solar just works during the day when the sun is shining. The stoves that are the topic of this article are a good alternative when the sun doesn’t shine, but for those who want to help others who can’t afford fuel, consider supporting or These are both worthy organizations helping the impoverished around the world cook using healthy fuel.

  • ljorgensen

    This is real smart politics. We should be doing more of this kind versus gunboat diplomacy. Helping to raise the standard of living and health will do more for world peace than the military ever could.

  • xpolivier

    For the last two years I have been working on small gasifiers for fine and undensified biomass such as rice hulls and coffee husks.
    My latest designs include ceramic reactors.
    I am convinced that these gasifiers can be sold for less than $20 US dollars.
    Here the gas needed for cooking is absolutely free,
    and the biochar can be sold at a nice profit.
    Paul Olivier
    [email protected]

  • different clue

    The smoke-filtered stove described in this article would certainly be a good thing
    as long as there is electricity and/or batteries to make sure those filters work. Work on stoves so clean-burningly combustion-efficient as to not even make any smoke to begin with would also be well worth researching. If Mr. Olivier just above has such a stove (with soil-building biochar as a bi-product yet), then he has a good thing, and not only for third world countries. Gardeners right here in America would like to be able to turn dry garden waste into biochar if they had a clean safe way to do it.
    Meanwhile, research into innately clean-burning stoves has been conducted for some time. Here is one type being researched:
    And there are others.

  • Billy Jack

    I take nothing away from helping fella humans. But the acts of kindness should be directed at every country where needed. I speek of the United States of America. We have more hungry and homeless than some countries getting help. I’m not saying stop helping others, just saying we see the help in the U.S.A., and it is very little. I’ve seen the knocking down of an older hospital that really would have taken very little to fix up and house the poor and homeless. So I’m not talking much money to help our own, very little money and a helping hand in making smart judgements. It is a wonderful work this country is doing to help other countries, but please look here first. Its very easy to see. Thank you for your time.

  • PattiOGara

    I had no idea this was a problem for poorer countries in the world and I am glad someone brought it to my attention. I sometimes worry about those of us in the states cooking too much with charcoal and inhaling all the smoke! But, the poor people in other countries do not have a choice! Surely, more people like me, need to be aware of this. My problem, is how do we help?