Read the full story from U.S. EPA.
More than 60% of Navajo households use wood stoves for heat. The stoves are often very old, inefficient, and poorly vented, leading to high levels of indoor and outdoor air pollution and increased risk of fires. Because of the poor efficiency of these old stoves, many families are unable to maintain a warm home with wood alone and add large chunks of coal to the stove before going to bed at night. The pollutants in wood and coal smoke have been linked to respiratory and cardiovascular disease, cancer, and poor birth outcomes. Although cleaner-burning EPA-certified wood stoves are widely available, they are not designed to be used with coal, and therefore are not an option for homes that use both fuels.
This winter, researchers from the University of Colorado, Boulder; the Navajo Nation EPA; Diné College; and EPA will assess the impacts of replacing old stoves with new, custom-designed stoves, monitoring air quality inside and outside of homes both before and after the old stove is replaced. In addition, researchers will evaluate whether stove replacement improves respiratory symptoms.