A new study conducted in Ibadan, Oyo State, has revealed that the use of clean-burning ethanol stoves, as against kerosene stoves, can reduce hypertension and cardiovascular risk in pregnant women.
According to the lead study author and professor of medicine and family director of international programmes at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine, Christopher Olopade, pregnant women who were used to using kerosene stove had lesser chances of developing high blood pressure when they switched to ethanol stoves.
In report titled, ‘Randomised Controlled Ethanol Cookstove Intervention and Blood Pressure in Pregnant Nigerian Women’, researchers stated that the frequency of developing hypertension and diastolic blood pressure were decreased in pregnant women who cooked with ethanol, rather than with traditional cookstoves fueled by wood or kerosene.
They, however, noted that systolic blood pressure levels of the pregnant women that took part in the study did not change significantly.
Olopade stated, “Although previous studies found that exposure to household air pollution increased the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, no randomised, controlled trial had investigated whether clean-burning fuel would reduce the incidence of hypertension in pregnant women,”
According to the report, Olopade and his colleagues enrolled 324 pregnant women living in Ibadan. However, women who smoked or lived with a smoker or who cooked for a living were excluded from the study.
None of the women enrolled were hypertensive when they enrolled and they were randomised into the study between the 16 and18th weeks of pregnancy.
Half of the participating women who previously cooked with firewood or kerosene were randomly assigned to cook with ethanol. The other half continued to cook with either wood or kerosene. Blood pressure was recorded during six patient visits.
By the end of the study, the researchers found that 6.4 per cent of those cooking with wood or kerosene became hypertensive compared with 1.9 per cent of those cooking with ethanol. The study also showed that 8.8 per cent of those who cooked with kerosene became hypertensive compared to only 1.8 per cent who stopped using from kerosene and switched to ethanol.
It stated, “Mean diastolic blood pressure was 2.8 mmHg higher among those cooking with wood or kerosene than those cooking with ethanol. It stated. The mean diastolic blood pressure was 3.6 mmHg higher among those cooking with kerosene than those cooking with ethanol. “
Olopade said the findings have echoed the call by the World Health Organisation to remove kerosene as a home cooking or heating fuel.