Exposure To Cooking Stove Smoke Kills 4M People Yearly, Says ISO

Cooking stove
Cooking stove

By Akanimo Sampson

More than four million people die each year from exposure to cooking stove smoke, making household air pollution the fourth biggest health risk in the world, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) which made this known also pointed out that it is highly toxic for the environment.

ISO is an independent, non-governmental international organisation with a membership of 164 national standards bodies. Through its members, it brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant international standards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.

ISO has developed a number of international standards to support new technologies and solutions for cleaner methods of cooking. The latest in the range, ISO 19869, Clean cookstoves and clean cooking solutions — Field testing methods for cookstoves, evaluates existing methods for the testing of cookstoves and provides guidance on developing new ones.

This is because almost three billion people rely on traditional cookstoves and open fires for cooking and heating, placing them at serious risk of health disorders and premature death. The latest in ISO’s series of standards for cleaner ways of cooking has just been published.

The guidance covers field testing methods that evaluate all aspects of cookstove performance including cooking power, efficiency, safety, indoor air quality, device usability and more.

Chair of the ISO Technical Committee that developed the standard, Dr Ranyee Chiang, said testing of cookstoves in real situations is essential to assess the impact on both users and the environment, thus allowing for improvements to be made.

“There are various testing protocols already in existence to assess things like fuel consumption, emissions, air pollution and durability amongst other things. However, these are mostly done for specific projects by individual groups,’’ she said.

Where common protocols exist such as the Controlled Cooking Test (CCT) and the Kitchen Performance Test (KPT), she explained, they have few indicators other than fuel consumption.

“Until now, there is no formal international guidance on field testing protocols that address a broad range of factors. ISO 19869 is therefore designed to fill that gap.’’

ISO 19869 joins other ISO documents by the same committee, namely ISO 19867-1, Clean cookstoves and clean cooking solutions — Harmonized laboratory test protocols, Part 1: Standard test sequence for emissions and performance, safety and durability, and ISO/TR 19867-3, Clean cookstoves and clean cooking solutions — Harmonized laboratory test protocols, Part 3: Voluntary performance targets for cookstoves based on laboratory testing, as well as ISO/TR 21276, Clean cookstoves and clean cooking solutions — Vocabulary.

The standards support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 3: Good health and well-being as well as SDG number 7: Affordable and clean energy and contribute to the Clean Cooking Alliance’s mission to ensure universal adoption of clean cooking solutions.

They were developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 285, Clean cookstoves and clean cooking solutions, the secretariat for which is held by KEBS, ISO’s member for Kenya.