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Environ Health Perspect. 2011 Sep;119(9):1301-7. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1002927. Epub 2011 May 27.

Impact of the improved patsari biomass stove on urinary polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon biomarkers and carbon monoxide exposures in rural Mexican women.

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Environmental Health Department, National Institute of Public Health, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico.



Cooking with biomass fuels on open fires results in exposure to health-damaging pollutants such as carbon monoxide (CO), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and particulate matter.


We compared CO exposures and urinary PAH biomarkers pre- and postintervention with an improved biomass stove, the Patsari stove.


In a subsample of 63 women participating in a randomized controlled trial in central Mexico, we measured personal CO exposure for 8 hr during the day using continuous monitors and passive samplers. In addition, first-morning urine samples obtained the next day were analyzed for monohydroxylated PAH metabolites by gas chromatography/isotope dilution/high-resolution mass spectrometry. Exposure data were collected during the use of an open fire (preintervention) and after installation of the improved stove (postintervention) for 47 women, enabling paired comparisons.


Median pre- and postintervention values were 4 and 1 ppm for continuous personal CO and 3 and 1 ppm for passive sampler CO, respectively. Postintervention measurements indicated an average reduction of 42% for hydroxylated metabolites of naphthalene, fluorene, phenanthrene, and pyrene on a whole-weight concentration basis (micrograms per liter of urine), and a 34% reduction on a creatinine-adjusted basis (micrograms per gram of creatinine). Pre- and postintervention geometric mean values for 1-hydroxypyrene were 3.2 and 2.0 μg/g creatinine, respectively.


Use of the Patsari stove significantly reduced CO and PAH exposures in women. However, levels of many PAH biomarkers remained higher than those reported among smokers.

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