Household Air Pollution

The use of solid fuels for cooking is a public health problem in the Americas and the main environmental risk, affecting nearly 90 million people. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated 81,424 deaths in the Americas in 2012 as a result of the use of solid fuels (SFU) for cooking and heating, and more than 2.5 million years of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) (WHO, 2015).

The Who Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality -Household fuel combustion warns of the danger of SFU and set goals to reduce emissions of harmful pollutants to health from open fires, stoves and lamps for domestic use. In its recommendations, the need to improve access of households to cleaner energy sources such as liquefied petroleum gas, biogas, natural gas and electricity is underlined. The recommendations focus on reducing emissions of pollutants as much as possible and on the importance of proper ventilation, recognizing the need for intermediate measures adapted to rural and lower income households that depend on solid fuels.

The Pan American Health Organization has set in its 2015-2019 strategic plan the goal of supporting Member States to reduce by 5% the percentage of the population dependent on solid fuels for cooking in countries with 10% or more of SFU in the population.

HAP Country Profiles


Regional Documents

WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Household Fuel Combustion