THE PROBLEM

Mariela stands near the typical open fire in her small kitchen in San Martineros, Guatemala
Rosalina prepares a meal for her six children in front of an open fire stove while her son, Diego, sits nearby.

                    
                 COOKING SHOULDN'T KILL
                           

     Imagine cooking all of your meals over an open fire in a small room with little or no ventilation continually inhaling dangerous smoke. Then imagine you are holding your newborn baby and your toddler is playing nearby. Both of your children are breathing that same toxic smoke.

     Mayan women cook an average of six hours a day, often over an open fire built on the floor in her small hut. This fire is smoky, hot and dangerous for her and her family. It uses a tremendous amount of wood resulting in a devastating impact on the environment. Often families will sleep in the same room as the open fire to stay warm during cold months.

     According to the World Health Organization harmful open fires are one of the top four health risks in developing countries.

     The toxic emissions are blamed for low birth weights, pneumonia in young children, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, cataracts and other health problems in adults. Half of all deaths among children under age five from acute lower respiratory infections are due to indoor air pollution from household solid fuels, according to WHO.
www.cmaj.ca, October 12, 2010