For decades, global health experts have recognized that smoke from indoor cooking is a major contributor to premature death. Yet, in poor countries around the world, some 3 billion people still rely on wood, coal, or animal dung to cook their food over indoor fires. The impact of the resulting indoor air pollution is devastating, particularly for the women and girls who are largely responsible for cooking and bear the brunt of the smoke. A new study calculates that the toll from indoor air pollution is even larger than previously thought: the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that exposure to smoke from traditional cooking was linked to 4.3 million deaths in 2012 – more than was attributable to HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis combined, and double the number estimated just five years ago.
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