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Environ Int. 2019 Apr 10;127:540-549. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2019.04.017. [Epub ahead of print]

Promoting LPG usage during pregnancy: A pilot study in rural Maharashtra, India.

Author information

1
Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, United States. Electronic address: ajaypillarisetti@gmail.com.
2
Vadu Rural Health Program, KEM Hospital Research Centre, Pune, India.
3
Department of Environmental Health Engineering, Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research, Chennai, India.
4
Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, United States.
5
Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, United States; Collaborative Clean Air Policy Centre, New Delhi, India.

Abstract

Household air pollution from the combustion of biomass and coal is estimated to cause approximately 780,000 premature deaths a year in India. The government has responded by promoting uptake of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) by tens of millions of poor rural families. Many poor households with new LPG stoves, however, continue to partially use traditional smoky chulhas. Our primary objective was to evaluate three strategies to transition pregnant women in rural Maharashtra to exclusive use of LPG for cooking. We also measured reductions in kitchen concentrations of PM2.5 before and after our interventions. Our core intervention was a free stove, 2 free LPG cylinders (one on loan until delivery), and repeated health messaging. We measured stove usage of both the traditional and intervention stoves until delivery. In households that received the core intervention, an average of 66% days had no indoor cooking on a chulha. In an adjacent area, we evaluated a conditional cash transfer (CCT) based on usage of LPG in addition to the core intervention. Results were less successful, due to challenges implementing the CCT. Pregnant women in a third nearby area received the core intervention plus a maximum of one 14.2 kg cylinder per month of free fuel. In their homes, 90% of days had no indoor cooking on a chulha. On average, exclusive LPG use decreased kitchen concentrations of PM2.5 by approximately 85% (from 520 to 72 μg/m3). 85% of participating households agreed to pay the deposit on the 2nd cylinder. This high purchase rate suggests they valued how the second cylinder permitted continuous LPG supply. A program to increase access to second cylinders may, thus, be a straightforward way to encourage use of clean fuels in rural areas.

KEYWORDS:

Biomass; Clean fuels; Cooking; Energy transitions; Household energy; Intervention; Liquefied petroleum gas

PMID:
30981912
DOI:
10.1016/j.envint.2019.04.017
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