Ventilated cookstoves associated with improvements in respiratory health-related quality of life in rural Bolivia

J Public Health (Oxf). 2014 Sep;36(3):460-6. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdt086. Epub 2013 Aug 21.


Background: Household air pollution (HAP) from combustion of biomass fuels worldwide is linked to asthma, respiratory infections and chronic pulmonary diseases. Implementation of ventilated cookstoves significantly reduces exposure to HAP. However, improvements in concurrent respiratory health-related quality of life (HRQoL) have not been previously evaluated with a standardized questionnaire.

Methods: The association between woodsmoke exposure and respiratory HRQoL outcomes was evaluated using an intervention study in a rural community in Bolivia. Indoor carbon monoxide (CO) levels from traditional stoves and from cookstoves with chimneys were analyzed alongside interview results of women heads-of-households using the St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) in 2009 and 1-year post-intervention.

Results: Pronounced improvements in respiratory HRQoL and significant reductions of household CO levels followed installation of ventilated cookstoves. Stove implementation yielded lower indoor CO values and correlated positively with improved SGRQ scores.

Conclusions: This is the first use of a standardized respiratory HRQoL assessment to determine the impact of ventilated cookstove implementation on reducing HAP. This preliminary study utilizes the SGRQ as a valuable tool enabling analysis of these health effects in relation to other respiratory disease states.

Keywords: CO; St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire; biomass fuel; carbon monoxide; household air pollution; respiratory health-related quality of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollution, Indoor / analysis
  • Bolivia / epidemiology
  • Carbon Monoxide / analysis
  • Cooking / methods*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Ventilation / methods*


  • Carbon Monoxide