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Photo by André François McKenzie on Unsplash

I have written previously about how cooking is a major source of indoor air pollution but a new report highlights particular risk from gas stoves and ovens. Homes with gas stoves can have nitrogen dioxide concentrations that are 50 to 400 percent higher than homes with electric stoves.1

Gas appliances can emit a range of pollutants including:

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Nitrogen oxides, including nitrogen dioxide
  • Fine particulate matter
  • Formaldehyde and other VOCs

Health effects from these pollutants include respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease, and premature death.  Children who are exposed to nitrogen dioxide have an increased risk for asthma.  There is also evidence that suggests a small increase in fine particulate matter can lead to a large increase in COVID-19 death rates.2 

The impact on air quality from gas cooking is greater the smaller your living space because the pollutants are more concentrated.

 

What to do if you own a gas stove or oven?

 

  • Consider replacing it with an electric stove/oven.
  • Properly ventilate.

Make sure your range hood meets code requirements.  It’s estimated that only half of new U.S. homes meet code requirements for range hoods.  Studies also show that many people do not use their range hoods when cooking.  If your range hood doesn’t extend over your front burners, make sure to cook on your back burners.

If you don’t have a range hood that vents to the outside, open your windows while cooking.

  • Purchase an air purifier that removes small particles and gases.

Be aware that many popular air purifiers are not effective at removing small particle and gas pollutants from cooking.  (see Air Purifier Buying Guide)

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