CHENNAI: The use of LPG gas cylinders for cooking is better in households, especially if a woman is pregnant because it helps reduce the indoor pollution that impacts the newborn, revealed a study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
The study, Household Air Pollution Intervention Trials (HAPIN), on the impact of an 18-month LPG intervention on pregnant women. Dr RS Dhaliwal, head of non-communicable diseases, ICMR, said that the use of LPG helps in better outcomes in newborns’ birth weight and the overall health due to less indoor pollution.
Speaking at an event at Sri Ramachandra Institute of Higher Education and Research (SRIHER) on Monday to release the first HAPIN trial results, he added: “Initial findings suggest that the birth weight of infants differed significantly between those born to women using LPG and to those using biomass. Lower levels of indoor pollution are needed to achieve benefits on birth weight.”
Dr Dhaliwal emphasised the need to ensure that rural women used LPG continuously. “The findings, if made into a brief policy document, will help the government make suitable modifications in the PM Ujwala Yojana programme,” he stated.
The results also indicate that prolonged use of LPG, instead of coal and firewood, ensures the health of the baby, said Dr Kalpana Balakrishnan, dean, research and principal investigator for the Indian team, SRIHER. “There’s evidence that the use of protected gas supply for cooking used during gestation protects the foetus from indoor air pollution,” she added. “The study population in India had a higher than average prevalence of low birthweight pointing to the need for addressing the role of multiple risk factors in poor populations.”