Improving health with new standards for cleaner cookstoves

Few minutes to read
By Clare Naden
Tagged as Food
Published on

Each year, millions of lives are adversely affected by smoke released from cooking on open fires or simple stoves fuelled by wood, charcoal and dung. The much-awaited series of international guidelines for safer cookstoves, just published, aims to help.

Some three billion people around the world rely on polluting stoves and open fires to cook the family meals. Not only are these methods inefficient, the harmful smoke exposure can increase the risk of contracting a range of diseases such as lung cancer, pneumonia and stroke, contributing to nearly four million deaths a year1).

To help address the problem, ISO has developed a series of International Standards and related documents for cleaner, safer cooking solutions that will provide a platform for new and existing technologies to develop and grow. These include an International Standard on laboratory testing, a technical report on sector-specific vocabulary and a technical report for benchmarking lab testing measurements. Two of them have just been published, with the third due to be released later this year.

Ranyee Chiang, Chair of the committee that developed the standards and former Director of Standards, Technology and Fuels at the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, said this is a positive step for the industry.

“Progress has been made, but with a global issue affecting three billion people, we must have ambitious goals,” she said.

“These standards will help to motivate and mobilize designers and companies to raise the standards of cookstoves and accelerate the market for new technologies that benefit consumers.”

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, is the first ever International Standard for the testing of biomass cookstoves. Based on terms and definitions from ISO/TR 21276, Clean cookstoves and clean cooking solutions – Vocabulary, a new technical report establishing precise terminology for cookstove technology and testing, it specifies laboratory measurement and evaluation methods for the particulate and gaseous air pollutant emissions of cookstoves.

It will soon be joined by a Part 3 setting voluntary performance targets for cookstoves based on laboratory testing, which is due to be published in the coming months. Together, they will provide a useful portfolio of test protocols and laboratory measurement procedures to test the performance of cookstoves under controlled laboratory conditions.

The documents were developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 285, Clean cookstoves and clean cooking solutions, comprised of some of the world’s leading specialists from the clean cookstoves and fuels sector, with special expertise on testing, design, business and policy.

The committee is jointly led by ANSI, ISO’s member for the US, and KEBS, ISO’s member for Kenya, with a strong involvement from other developing countries for whom clean cookstoves are most relevant.

ISO/TR 21276:2018 and ISO 19867-1:2018 are available from your national ISO member or through the ISO Store.

Learn more about the cookstoves challenge in this inspiring TEDx talk:

TEDx - Let’s be hungry to advance how the world cooks


1) WHO: Fact sheets

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