Transitioning Technology-Derived Knowledge into Behavior Changes to Reduce Household Air Pollution Exposure for Newborns

RTI International
Organization Location: 
Research Triangle, North Carolina

There is a strong need for cost-effective solutions that achieve substantial reductions in exposure to harmful household air pollution (HAP) and its toxic emissions. HAP generated during the combustion of solid fuel for cooking and heating and has been linked to increased risk of infant mortality and morbidity. We will test an innovative approach using HAP exposure data to inform behavior change. Pilot data of spatial HAP gradients suggest that movement within a room away from the highest HAP levels can decrease exposures by up to 85%. Using real-time measurements of spatial HAP gradients in the field will influence the positioning of newborns away from the highest levels inside a confined indoor space. Education based on these field data can drive smart household decisions and behaviors to empower local communities to reduce their own HAP exposures. Promoting the movement of a newborn to the cleanest air locations within a home is a simple no-cost method to reduce their exposures and lower health risks by a magnitude similar to the reductions expected from the most efficient improved cookstoves. If successful, the skills and knowledge gained from this project can be transferred to local entities, and in the long-term this initiative can be scaled to other communities, cities, and countries.

See video