University of California
Kirk R. Smith, PhD, MPH

Kirk R. Smith, PhD, MPH

Professor of Environmental Health
School of Public Health
Division of Environmental Health Sciences
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-7360
510-643-0793 Fax: 510-642-5815
Kirk Smith's home page
Creative Achievements
• Demonstrated that the highest exposures to air pollutants occur in rural, indoor settings in developing countries where biomass products (wood or dung) are principal fuels. Since half the world's population uses biomass fuel, the health impacts of this exposure are estimated to be larger than any other environmental risk except contaminated water supplies.
• Demonstrated that renewable biomass fuel cycles are not greenhouse-gas neutral.
• Created concept of "exposure trading" whereby polluters have a financial incentive to reduce emissions through a system of buying and selling emissions permits.
• Demonstrated that the application of exposure concepts, including the idea of "exposure effectiveness," has potential to achieve greater environmental protection quicker and at lower cost than traditional approaches.
• Created concept of "natural debt" (net result of polluting our planet faster than natural processes can dissipate the damage) and applied it to international greenhouse-gas negotiations. Enables countries to negotiate how much responsibility each has for cleaning up the environment based upon relative contributions in the past and present.
• Created concept of "risk transition" to complement traditional epidemiologic and demographic transition models.
Current Research Interests
• Environmental quality, health, resource use, development, and policy in developing countries.
• Health effects studies of indoor air pollution: childhood pneumonia and asthma in Guatemala; TB in India; cataracts in India and Nepal
• Evaluation of control strategies for traditional and modern environmental hazards, particularly health-damaging and climate-warming air pollution from fuel use
• Development and application of risk assessment to developing-country problems
Key Publications
• Smith KR, Zhang J, Uma R, Kishore VVN, Joshi V, Khalil MAK. 2000. Greenhouse implications of household fuels: an analysis for India. Annual Review of Energy and Environment 25:741-63.
• Smith KR. 2000. National burden of disease in India from indoor air pollution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 97(24):13286-93.
• Smith KR, Corvalan C, Kjellstrom T. 1999. How much global ill-health is attributable to environmental factors. Epidemiology 10(5):573-84.
• Mishra VK, Retherford RD, Smith KR. 1999. Biomass cooking fuels and prevalence of TB in India. International J of Infectious Diseases 3(3)119-29.
• Wang X, Smith KR. 1999. Near-term benefits of greenhouse gas reductions: health impacts in China. Environmental Science and Technology 33(18):3056-61.
• Smith, KR. 1987. Biofuels, Air Pollution, and Health. New York, NY: Plenum.
• Exposure Assessment (UCB)
• Global Burden of Disease (UCB)
• Introduction to Environmental Health Sciences (UCB)
• Elected Member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, 1997
• Elected Fellow of the International Academy of Indoor Air Sciences, 1997
• Alumnus of the Year for the UCB School of Public Health, 1989
• Elected by Science Digest editors and scientific advisors as "One of America's 100 Brightest Young Scientists," 1984
Public and University Service
• Coordinator of Health, Environment, and Development Master's Program, UCB
• Deputy Director, Environment and Health, Institute for Global Health, UCSF/UCB
• Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology, National Research Council