Cooking with gas? Make sure your home has fresh air

| by Brian Wellnitz
Cooking with gas? Make sure your home has fresh air

Worried about air pollution indoors? Well, the air in your home just may be worse if you cook with gas.

Kitchen ranges that use natural gas are very popular, especially with foodies who like to replicate the restaurant experience. But that little blue flame under the pan could be causing a big problem if your kitchen isn’t ventilated properly.

A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that in more than 60 percent of Southern California households using natural gas burners without proper ventilation, people in the home experienced levels of air pollution that would exceed federal health standards for the outdoors.

The study found that those households using gas burners without venting range hoods were exposed to excessive levels of nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and formaldehyde. These gases can cause respiratory disease and made asthma and heart disease worse.

Overall, about one-third of households nationwide use gas burners for cooking, according to the study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

People typically worry about pollution from smokestacks and tail pipes. But cooking with a gas stove in a kitchen without a venting range hood can be worse because it’s in a more confined space. You’re usually standing over the stove, and the family is close by.

The scientists who conducted the study recommend people use a range hood that vents to the outside. Cooking on the back burners right under fan will help as well.

If you have a gas range, or know someone who does, and they don’t have a range hood that vents to the outside, please contact a local building professional to address this health hazard.

Topics: Indoor Air Quality, Kitchen, Ventilation

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