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Environmental Health & Safety

Community Members Cooking Together, Courtesy of Impact Carbon

Environmental Health & Safety

Our work in environmental health and safety aims to identify environmental hazards that harm human health and reduce human exposure to these hazards. We focus on factors occurring in environments where people live that threaten their health. TRAction is supporting research on household air pollution and water, sanitation, and hygiene. These topics involve the investigation of environmental hazards (such as: particulate matter and black carbon in the air, and bacterial, viral, and parasitic organisms in water), and explore strategies for preventing and controlling their negative health impacts.

Household Air Pollution

Mother and children with improved cookstove
Household Air Pollution

Household air pollution (HAP) poses a substantial threat to the health of the world’s poor. Over half of the world’s population still cooks with solid-fuel – including wood, dung, coal or agricultural residues – on poorly functioning traditional stoves or open fires. As a result, an estimated 1 billion people, mostly women and children, are exposed to high household air pollution levels that harm their health and livelihoods. Improved cookstoves, which burn fuel more cleanly and efficiently than traditional cooking methods, have the potential to reduce the effects of indoor air pollution. However, using improved cookstoves requires significant behavior change. TRAction supports three research projects focused on increasing the adoption of improved cookstoves.

Water, Sanitation, Hygiene

Cambodian household water, TRAction
Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene

Today, around 780 million people do not have access to clean drinking water, and 2.5 billion people live without access to improved sanitation. This lack of basic services results in many health problems around the world, such as diarrhea. In many parts of the world, supposedly improved sources of drinking water have poor water quality and are unreliable. Water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) is also important for good nutrition. Gastrointestinal infections caused by poor WASH conditions may reduce the ability of the stomach to absorb nutrients, causing stunting and malnutrition. With urban populations growing quickly, the availability of clean water and proper sanitation facilities in high density population settings is increasingly important. TRAction is supporting research on how population density affects WASH interventions and efforts.


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