Evaluation of exposure reduction to indoor air pollution in stove intervention projects in Peru by urinary biomonitoring of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon metabolites

Environ Int. 2011 Oct;37(7):1157-63. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2011.03.024. Epub 2011 Apr 27.


Burning biomass fuels such as wood on indoor open-pit stoves is common in developing regions. In such settings, exposure to harmful combustion products such as fine particulate matter (PM(2.5)), carbon monoxide (CO) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) is of concern. We aimed to investigate if the replacement of open pit stoves by improved stoves equipped with a chimney would significantly reduce exposure to PAHs, PM(2.5) and CO. Two stove projects were evaluated in Peru. Program A was part of the Juntos National Program in which households built their own stoves using materials provided. In Program B, Barrick Gold Corporation hired a company to produce and install the stoves locally. A total of 30 and 27 homes participated in Program A and B, respectively. We collected personal and kitchen air samples, as well as morning urine samples from women tasked with cooking in the households before and after the installation of the improved stoves. Median levels of PM(2.5) and CO were significantly reduced in kitchen and personal air samples by 47-74% after the installation of the new stoves, while the median reduction of 10 urinary hydroxylate PAH metabolites (OH-PAHs) was 19%-52%. The observed OH-PAH concentration in this study was comparable or higher than the 95th percentile of the general U.S. population, even after the stove intervention, indicating a high overall exposure in this population.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / analysis
  • Air Pollution, Indoor / statistics & numerical data*
  • Biomass
  • Carbon Monoxide / analysis
  • Carbon Monoxide / urine*
  • Cooking
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Female
  • Fires
  • Household Articles*
  • Humans
  • Inhalation Exposure / analysis*
  • Inhalation Exposure / prevention & control
  • Inhalation Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Particulate Matter / analysis
  • Particulate Matter / urine*
  • Peru
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / analysis
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / urine*
  • Wood
  • Young Adult


  • Particulate Matter
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Carbon Monoxide