Indoor Air Quality

The global health community has largely overlooked the health burden associated with indoor air pollution. In 2000, 1.6 million avoidable deaths were attributed to indoor air pollution; by 2009 that number increased to two million. Worldwide, it is the tenth leading cause of avoidable deaths. In environmental causes of death, it is second only to contaminated waterborne diseases.

4.3 million

People die from indoor air pollution-caused illness each year. Nearly all of these deaths occur in low and lower-middle income countries.


Nearly 50% of pneumonia deaths among children under five are due to particulate matter inhaled from indoor air pollution.

1 million

In India, 1,022,000 people die each year from Home Air Pollution. 100,000 of them are children.


Around 70 percent of burn injuries we treat around the world are caused by open fires or stoves used for cooking.

Concentration in Low-Income Countries

Nearly all of the two million deaths from indoor air pollution each year occur in low and lower-middle income countries in the developing world. In low-income countries the number of deaths brought on by malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDs stands at 1.6 million deaths annually, compared to the two million caused by regular exposure to pollutants from indoor cooking with solid fuels. Exposure to pollutants from traditional solid fuels is so widespread in the developing world that it is the sixth leading cause of avoidable death in low-income countries. It is responsible for 21% of deaths from lower respiratory infections, 35% of deaths from COPD, and 3% of deaths from lung cancer in these countries.

Changing Landscape of Household Air Pollution

Currently, 2.9 billion people are exposed to indoor air pollution every year. Most solid fuel usage occurs in East Asia, South Asia, and the Pacific; however the greatest amount of exposure to indoor pollutants is in Sub-Saharan Africa. Solid fuel use rates have grown in low-income countries with greatest population growth. From 2000 to 2007, the total number of people using solid fuels in countries that experienced no income growth grew by 45%. In the future, measuring and tracking exposure to indoor air pollution will be necessary to achieving policy changes in low-income countries. The goal is to target low-income countries.

41 million

The World Health Organization reported 41 million Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) were lost due to indoor air pollution.


Respiratory illness from cooking on primitive stoves will be causing 4,000 premature deaths each day by 2030 if nothing is done to address the problem.

3 billion

Nearly 3 billion people rely on solid fuels to cook their food.


Both women and men exposed to heavy indoor smoke are 2-3 times more likely to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Reducing Exposure

Switching from traditional solid fuels, such as wood or charcoal, to modern fuels will bring about the largest reductions in exposure to indoor air pollution. Modern alternatives include non-solid fuels like kerosene, biogas, natural gas, and LPG. Among these, LPG remains the best option due to its large reserves, minimal environmental impacts, and affordability. This last criterion is the driving factor for LPG adoption in the developing world. In the past, LPG prices were linked to oil prices because it is a by-product of oil production. However, with the recent rise in natural gas production, this correlation with oil prices will be reduced, as LPG is also a by-product of producing natural gas.

LP Gas Adoption

The biggest factors in developing countries adopting LP Gas as a fuel source are availability, reliability of supply, issues of safety, and familiarity with using the fuel. Pursuing LPG as an alternative fuel will likely involve identifying country-level factors that work in favor of adoption and from there, determining which countries show the greatest potential for LPG as a viable alternative. Educating consumers, especially women, to the benefits of LPG will be essential in convincing.

Find out More:

COOKING FOR LIFE, a campaign of the WLPGA,

aims to facilitate the transition of ONE BILLION people from cooking with traditional fuels as well as other dirty and dangerous fuels to cleaner-burning LPG by 2030.