Do you have a gas stove?How to reduce pollution that can harm your health

Gas stoves circulate pollutants that affect the air quality inside and outside your home, increasing your risk of asthma and other illnesses.

Gas stove burner with blue and yellowish flame.Another banner in the background is blurred

In a previous blog post, we discussed the health hazards of outdoor air pollution and how reducing exposure can reduce health risks. Evidence suggests indoor air quality should also be considered is on the rise, and studies point to the potential harm of gas stoves.

Like many people, if you have a gas stove, understanding the problem and taking a few steps can help protect your home. These steps also help improve outdoor air quality.

Gas stoves linked to asthma in children

Cooking on a gas stove produces nitrogen dioxide, which further releases small airborne particles known as PM2.5. Both of these irritate the lungs. Nitric oxide is associated with childhood asthma. In 2019 alone, an estimated 2 million new cases of childhood asthma worldwide were attributed to nitrogen dioxide pollution.

An analysis of observational studies found that children who lived in homes that used gas stoves for cooking were 42% more likely to develop asthma. Observational studies cannot prove that cooking with gas directly causes asthma, but the data also show that higher nitrogen dioxide levels are associated with more severe asthma symptoms in children and adults. is showing.

Cooking and baking with gas appliances can release high levels of nitrogen dioxide. A recent study published by researchers at Stanford University calculated that nitrogen dioxide emissions from certain gas burners or ovens exceeded outdoor standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) within minutes. it was done. Currently, the EPA does not set standards for indoor safety levels.

Organizations such as the Massachusetts Medical Society and the American Medical Association are trying to raise awareness of these risks among clinicians and the general public. However, much of this information still comes as a surprise to many.

Gas stove leaks even when the flame is turned off

A Stanford study tested gas stoves in 53 households. All stoves leaked methane even when turned off. These leaks represent his 76% of total methane gas emissions. Both methane and nitrogen dioxide contribute to air pollution by forming ground-level ozone and smog. Methane is also a major greenhouse gas, exacerbating climate change. Notably, neither methane nor nitrogen dioxide emissions were associated with gas stove age or price in this study.

Toxic chemicals in gas stoves and pipelines

Additionally, research from the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and PSE Healthy Energy shows that gas appliances also bring other toxic chemicals into your home. Researchers collected unburned gas from stoves and built pipelines in the Boston area. Their analysis identified 21 harmful air pollutants known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). For example, benzene, hexane, and toluene were present in almost all gas samples tested. Exposure to some VOCs increases the risk of asthma, cancer and other diseases.

How can you protect the health of your home if you have a gas stove?

These and other measures can be taken to reduce health risks from indoor pollution.

Ventilate the kitchen while cooking

  • Open the window while cooking.
  • Use an exhaust fan to move the air outdoors. This contributes to outdoor pollution, but also reduces exposure to high concentrations of unhealthy air in confined spaces.

use an air purifier

Although they don’t remove all pollutants, air purifiers can improve indoor air quality. Choose an air purifier with a high Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) for the size of your room. The air purifier is easy to move, so keep it near the kitchen during the day and move it to the bedroom when you go to sleep. Remember to replace the filter when it becomes dirty.

switch cooking to appliances

Cost, disruption, and environmental concerns may guide your choice. The production of new appliances consumes natural resources, and old appliances often end up in landfills. Here are some options to consider:

  • Use an electric kettle instead of boiling water in the microwave.
  • Cook in an electric slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, toaster oven, or microwave.
  • Replace gas stove with electric stove. See the following tips for making this switch and recycling your home appliances. If you’re a Massachusetts resident, he may be eligible for a $500 rebate from Mass Save for swapping from gas to induction stoves this year. (Other states may offer similar incentives.)

Making the switch is also good for the environment because electrical appliances don’t rely on methane gas and can use clean, renewable energy sources instead. , means taking steps for a healthier planet and a healthier you.

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