Environmental health risk and the use of biomass stoves in Sri Lanka

By Myles Elledge, Sumal Nandasena, Michael Phillips, Vanessa Thornburg

This research brief examines environmental health risk and biomass fuel stove use in Sri Lanka. For the majority of Sri Lankan households, biomass fuel is the main resource for cooking. These fuels are a major source of indoor air pollution (IAP). Sri Lanka’s population demographic trends show both a large young population and a sizeable aging population, which is unusual in a lower income country. These factors suggest that IAP is a serious health risk for large segments of the population that are likely to be inside the home during biomass stove operation. IAP is a neglected public health issue in Sri Lanka from both the public perspective and the government policy perspective. Further research and analysis are needed to inform public health policy, advocacy, and targeted interventions.


Elledge, M., Nandasena, S., Phillips, M., & Thornburg, V. (2010). Environmental health risk and the use of biomass stoves in Sri Lanka. (RTI Press Publication No. RB-0001-1010). Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI Press. https://doi.org/10.3768/rtipress.2010.RB.0001.1010

© 2019 RTI International. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Myles ElledgeMyles F. Elledge, MPIA (Master of Public and International Affairs), is a senior director, Innovation Advisors, at RTI International.  

Sumal NandasenaSumal Nandasena, MBBS, MSc, MD, is Lecturer in Public Health at the National Institute of Health Sciences, Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka.

Michael PhillipsMichael J. Phillips, BS, is a health research analyst at RTI International.

Vanessa ThornburgVanessa E. Thornburg, MA, is a Survey Manager in RTI’s Social, Statistical, and Environmental Sciences unit.

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