risk of stillbirthResearchers from the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in India recently published a study on the impact of household air pollution on stillbirth rates in India. The study was published in the journal Environmental Research.

More than 185,000 women were included in the study. All participants were between 15 and 49 years old. Data was collected as part of the District Level Household Survey between 2003 and 2004. Researchers were looking for a possible connection between cooking oils and risk of stillbirth. In particular, cooking oils examined included biomass, kerosene, gas and electricity. These same cooking fuels are used in many households across the United States.

After taking all contributing factors into consideration, researchers found a connection between firewood, kerosene and risk of stillbirth. Women who used firewood and kerosene were more likely to suffer stillbirth than women who used gas or electricity.

Conclusion: Clean cooking and heating fuels are crucial for pregnant women. Researchers estimate up to 12% of stillbirths in India could be avoided with the use of clean cooking fuels.

Source: Lakshmi PV, Virdi NK, Sharma A, Tripathy JP, Smith KR, Bates MN, Kumar R. Household air pollution and stillbirths in India: Analysis of the DLHS-II National Survey. Environ Res. 2013 Feb;121:17-22. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2012.12.004. Epub 2013 Jan 31.