Stove use: Initial household take-up of the low-cost stoves was high, but over time households generally chose to let the stoves fall into disrepair and used them less frequently. In the first two years, households that received stoves in the first wave were 65 percent more likely to have an improved stove than comparison houses. However, by year three, this number had fallen to 44 percent. Further, households that obtained new stoves continued to use the traditional one in addition. In the early years, treatment households only cooked 3.5 more meals per week (or 25 percent of total meals) with a good condition, improved stove than comparison households. This difference fell to about 1.8 meals per week in year 3, as the stoves deteriorated.
Smoke exposure: Households that were eligible for stoves showed little improvement in smoke exposure. Household members were tested for the levels of Carbon Monoxide (CO) in exhaled breath to measure for smoke inhalation. For the household’s primary cook, CO exposure fell by 7.5 percent during the first year but there was little change for other women or children. However, the effect for the primary cooks disappeared after the first year as proper stove usage declined.
Health status: Given that there was little to no change in smoke exposure, any health effects are unlikely to be due to decreased smoke inhalation. Respiratory tests of lung functioning, as well as a battery of health measures, both observed and self-reported, such as blood pressure, cough, cold and infant health outcomes, confirms that being offered a stove had no impact on health outcomes.
Fuel Usage and Cost of stoves: The clean stoves were meant to decrease fuel usage, and therefore fuel costs, and decrease cooking time. They do not appear to have done either, although interestingly, households report that the new stoves performed well on both measures. The new stoves required substantially more repair than traditional stoves.