Narrator: This is Science Today. About one and a half million premature deaths a year are attributed to the use of solid fuels for household cooking and heating. Professor Kirk Smith, chair of environmental health studies at the University of California, Berkeley, says this indoor air pollution problem, which mainly affects the rural poor of the Third World, could be helped by efficient use of fossil fuels.
Smith: We should rather look at petroleum fuels in particular, that can be burned very cleanly at the local level, as instead of something that is to be avoided, to actually be something that should be applied to this problem.
Narrator: Smith is currently observing the health benefits in a population using improved stoves that burn clean fossil fuels.
Smith: The other, of course, benefit for using clean fossil fuels for the third world poor is that it moves away from this problem of local production of air pollution that is so damaging to health.
Narrator: The Environmental Protection Agency is also sponsoring these improved stoves. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.