Unhealthy Indoor Air
Unhealthy Indoor Air – Can Cooking Actually Hurt The Air Quality In Your Home?

Unhealthy Indoor Air – Can Cooking Actually Hurt The Air Quality In Your Home?

The California Environmental Protection Agency's Air Resources Board (ARB) has completed a study of air pollution emitted during home cooking which found that pollution levels can exceed health-based standards.

ARB Chairman Dr. Alan Lloyd said, “Californians spend about 85 percent of their day indoors.  But with a few simple steps, we can reduce those emissions from cooking which pose a potential health risk.”

The three-year, $300,000 study, which was conducted by ARCADIS, Geraghty, and Miller, Inc of Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, tested the indoor air quality impacts of 32 cooking activities such as broiling fish, baking lasagna, and stir-frying. In tests using both gas and electric appliances, levels of airborne particles ranged from 60 to 1400 micrograms per cubic meter during cooking, and up to 3600 micrograms per cubic meter during oven cleaning. These levels can exceed the ambient air quality standard of 50 micrograms per cubic meter averaged over 24 hours.

Nitrogen dioxide levels ranged up to 400 parts per billion, which is well over ARB's indoor air quality guideline and ambient air quality standard of 250 parts per billion for one hour.  Frying, broiling, and baking caused high indoor pollutant levels, and levels were even higher when the oven’s self-cleaning feature was used.

Since no governmental agency has regulatory authority over indoor air quality, the ARB carries out a non-regulatory Indoor Air Quality and Personal Exposure Assessment Program.  This program includes sponsored research, exposure assessment, development of indoor air quality guidelines, and public education and outreach. The ARB is committed to pursuing actions to prevent indoor pollution and to effectively reduce the significant risk it currently poses to Californians.

In order to reduce exposures to the pollutants generated during cooking and oven cleaning, the ARB recommends the following steps:

  • Use a low-noise range hood that is vented to the outdoors.  Adding side shields while using an exhaust hood removes even more of the pollutants.
  • Use the self-cleaning oven cycle only when the house is unoccupied and well ventilated.
  • Consider using a microwave oven whenever possible.

"In order to protect ourselves from high levels of indoor pollutants, the ARB suggests that gas stoves are cleaned regularly and adjusted annually by a trained professional," said Dr. Lloyd.

For other news editorials, see; indoor air polution.

Author Notes:

Nathan Coleman contributes and publishes news editorial to http://www.fresh-air-purifiers.com.  Learn more about air health and purifiers, plus allergies, molds and asthma and what to do about it.

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