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July 20, 2011

700 million black carbon free cookers would save over one million lives per year, reduce birth defects and reduce global warming

PNAS - Association of selected persistent organic pollutants in the placenta with the risk of neural tube defects

Pregnant mothers who are exposed to pesticides and smoke are as much as four times more likely to give birth to infants with serious birth defects.

Neural tube defects, or NTDs, are brain and spinal cord defects with the most common of them occurring when the spinal column does not close during the first trimester and results in nerve damage and paralysis. They are common and can occur in one of every 1000 live births in the United States.

Zhu and his team examined fetuses from four rural counties in northern Shanxi province. Here, NTDs occur at a much higher rate of 14 out of 1000 births.

Black Carbon Free cookers could eliminate indoor coal air pollution

Ramanathan estimates that “providing alternative energy-efficient and smoke-free cookers and introducing transferring technology for reducing soot emissions from coal combustion in small industries could have major impacts on the radiative forcing due to soot.” Specifically, the impact of replacing biofuel cooking with black carbon-free cookers (solar, bio, and natural gas) in South and East Asia is dramatic: over South Asia, a 70 to 80% reduction in black carbon heating; and in East Asia, a 20 to 40% reduction.



Parabolic domestic cookers: These cookers are parabolic dish cookers of about 1.4 meter diameter popularly referred to as SK14 and cost about $100. They are advertised as able to cook rice for a family of up to ten people in about 30 minutes.

Parabolic community dish cookers: These new dish cookers are 2.3 meter in diameter, and cost about $500. They are made by PRINCE group in India, among others. These dish cookers are capable of cooking meals for around 40 students in one hour and are recommended for use in schools where mid-day meal is served.

Biogas plants and burners: To supplement operation of solar cookers, biogas plants are recommended. Biogas will be required for cooking during evenings and nights and on cloudy days, as well as for cooking operations like frying, bread making, etc. which are difficult on solar cookers. One unit can serve four families comfortably and costs 3 about $1000. Family-size (2-4 m gas per day) biogas plants have been disseminated and popularized in India, China and many other countries (Bhat et al., 2001). Over 3 million biogas plants have been built in India alone.

Interim Milestone: Adoption of 100 million clean and efficient cookstoves by 2020(Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves)

Global Market Size = 500-700 million households
-Regional = 100s millions of homes for each of Africa, China, and India

•Current Activity:
-Improved stove sales today likely on scale of single millions per year

-Advanced stove sales today likely on scale of under 1 million per year
Soot is about 40% of the global warming effect of carbon dioxide now and will still be about 25% of it in 2050

18% Residential biofuel burned with traditional technologies is causing the total soot. Clean cookers and home heating in the developing world would also be like getting 8% of current carbon dioxide reduced (about 2.5 billion tons of CO2 per year equivalent.)

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) have been associated with a wide range of adverse health effects. Our case–control study was performed to explore the association between placental levels of selected POPs and risks for neural tube defects (NTDs) in a Chinese population with a high prevalence of NTDs. Cases included 80 fetuses or newborns with NTDs, whereas the controls were 50 healthy, nonmalformed newborn infants. Placental concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), organochlorine pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers were analyzed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. The medians of PAHs, o,p′-isomers of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and metabolites, α- and γ-hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH), and α-endosulfan were significantly higher in case placentas than in controls. PAH concentrations above the median were associated with a 4.52-fold [95% confidence interval (CI), 2.10–9.74) increased risk for any NTDs, and 5.84- (95% CI, 2.28–14.96) and 3.71-fold (95% CI, 1.57–8.79) increased risks for anencephaly and spina bifida, respectively.

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