For nealy a year, I’ve been working on an NIEHS-funded project called ECOLECTIVOS, a portmanteau word combined from the Ancient Greek οἶκος “home” and from the Latin collectivus “collective.” As an anthropologist, it is always important to recognize the connection between culture and behavior. Our team is investigating how plastic waste combustion affects human health in Indigenous communities of Santa María Xalapán, a mountain in eastern Guatemala. The idea for this project sprang from a related study, the Household Air Pollution Intervention Network (HAPIN) Trial, which I worked on for several years. For that work, we studied how people adapt to using new cookstoves that ran on liquefied petroleum gas instead of biomass, such as charcoal or wood.


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