Liquefied petroleum gas or biomass for cooking and effects on birth weight



Exposure during pregnancy to household air pollution caused by burning solid biofuel is associated with adverse health effects, including low birth weight. It is not known whether replacing a biomass stove with a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) stove would result in an increase in birth weight.


We performed a randomized controlled trial involving pregnant women (aged 18 to 2.5]), carbon black, and carbon monoxide were measured at baseline and twice during pregnancy.


A total of 3,200 women were randomized; 1593 were assigned to the intervention group and 1607 to the control group. Adoption of the intervention was nearly complete, with traditional biomass cookstoves being used at a median rate of less than one day per month. After randomization, the median 24-hour personal exposure to fine particles was 23.9 μg per cubic meter in the intervention group and 70.7 μg per cubic meter in the control group. Among 3060 live births, a valid birth weight was available for 94.9% of infants born to women in the intervention group and for 92.7% of infants born to women in the control group. The mean (±SD) birth weight was 2921±474.3 g in the intervention group and 2898±467.9 g in the control group, for an adjusted mean difference of 19.5 g (confidence interval at 95%, -10.1 to 49.2).


The birth weight of infants did not differ significantly between those born to women who used LPG stoves and those born to women who used biomass stoves. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; HAPIN number, NCT02944682.)

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