Gas Stoves and Indoor Air Quality

Gas stoves have been making headlines recently as the US Consumer Product Safety Commission works to regulate them. Research has linked the use of gas stoves to respiratory illness, cancer, cardiovascular problems, and other health conditions.

How Gas Stoves Impact Indoor Air Quality

Natural gas stoves are currently used in about 40% of US homes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and World Health Organization (WHO) have said that the levels of nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and fine particulates released into the air by natural gas stoves are unsafe.

According to Bloomberg, research published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in late 2022 found that more than 12% of current childhood asthma cases in the United States can be attributed to the use of gas stoves.

The biggest gas stove byproduct concern is nitrogen dioxide, which the EPA regulates in outdoor emissions. However, there are no similar indoor exposure standards. Long-term exposure has been linked to chronic lung disease and increased mortality, according to Scientific American. Unburned natural gas also leaks from stoves. The gas contains a known carcinogen, benzene.

Improving Indoor Air Quality While Cooking

It’s important to remember that cooking will produce emissions and harmful byproducts regardless of the type of stove used. Ventilation during and after cooking can help reduce the impact of these emissions.

If you want to make the switch to an electric range, you may qualify for rebates of up to $840 for the purchase of a new electric range as part of the Inflation Reduction Act. But if getting a new stove isn’t an option, there are things you can do to reduce exposure.

If your stove has an overhead vent, use it each time you cook. Ideally it should vent outside your home. Vents work best when running at full blast, and filters should be changed quarterly. If your range hood doesn’t vent outside, you can increase ventilation by opening a window and running a fan.

It’s unlikely that gas stoves will be banned completely. Taking steps to improve your indoor air quality can help offset health risks.

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