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The impact of improved wood-burning stoves on fine particulate matter concentrations in rural Mexican homes


To evaluate the impact of improved wood burning stoves on indoor air pollution, 53 homes in a rural town in Michoacán, Mexico, were selected from a health intervention study and monitored before and after receiving improved wood-burning stoves. Fine particulate matter — particles with aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) — concentrations were measured in the central plaza of the community and in three microenvironments in the home (next to the stove, in the kitchen away from the stove, and outdoor patio). Forty-eight hour mean PM2.5 concentrations in homes that burned wood in open fires were 693 μg/m3 (95% CI: 246–1338) near the stove, 658 μg/m3 (95% CI: 67–1448) in the kitchen away from the stove, and 94 μg/m3 (95% CI: 36–236) on the patio. Mean ambient 24-h concentrations in the main plaza of the community were 59 μg/m3 (95% CI: 29–92). Paired measurements before and after the installation of the Patsari improved wood-burning stove indicate a median 71% reduction in PM2.5 concentrations near the stove and 58% reductions in kitchen concentrations, whereas patio and main plaza concentrations remain unaffected. Only 44% of participants reported to use their Patsari stoves exclusively during the transition period. Even with the predominant mixed use of the Patsari stove with open fires, estimated daily average personal exposures to PM2.5 were reduced by 50%.

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We thank Abraham Martínez, Ana María Santayo, Nick Lam and Teresa Marron for their dedication and field support. We appreciate the laboratory and logistical support of Fancisco Mandujano and Henry Wöhrnschimmel. Special thanks to the study participants for welcoming us into their homes. Funding and technical assistance for this work was provided by Mexico's National Institute of Ecology, the Shell Foundation, Mexico's National Institute of Public Health, the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks, and UC MEXUS CONACYT collaborative grant program.

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Correspondence to Miriam Zuk.

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Zuk, M., Rojas, L., Blanco, S. et al. The impact of improved wood-burning stoves on fine particulate matter concentrations in rural Mexican homes. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 17, 224–232 (2007).

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