Are your presently using a gas stove? Do you have your heart set on getting one in the future? You might want to read this before you do anything.
It turns out that natural gas stoves generates high levels of nitrogen oxides. Sadly, this can be linked to respiratory problems including asthma and decreased lung function especially in children. Research has proven that gas stoves produce more air pollutants than previously thought. To the point, where the researchers involved replaced their gas stoves in their own homes with electric. The research found that children living in a home with a gas stove had a 42% increased risk of having asthma.
Not only did the nitrogen oxide levels from a gas burning stove exceed Health Canada guidelines for a one hour exposure, but the pollutants often lingered in the home for a couple of hours. In addition, pollutants are not only released while cooking. The gas stoves leak high levels of methane even when they are not being used. This also generates a significant level of indoor air pollution.
The results were so startling that last year The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment ran ad campaigns to highlight the negative effect of natural gas including:
1) Links to birth defects and cancer
2) Climate change from the leaking methane
3) Indoor pollution and its impact on the respiratory system
With new residential air quality guidelines issued by Health Canada back in 2015, most gas ranges do not come close to meeting these standards.
So what can be done to help reduce the health risks?
1) If you can, replace your gas stove with electric
2) Use other cooking methods such as microwaves or counter top electric induction burners.
3) Ventilate while cooking. Use the hood fan and make sure it ventilates the air outside instead of back into the room. It should be noted that properly installed external venting hood fan only cuts the pollutants in half.
4) Use the back burners as more of the gasses will be captured by the hood fan vs the front burners.
As far as other gas appliances such as furnaces, water heaters, and fireplaces, unlike gas stoves, they are required to be vented outside. However, there is evidence that gas furnaces can also release nitrogen oxide pollution into the home.
If you have a choice, avoid natural gas appliances. Unlike the outdoors, you have more control over the pollution levels in your home. Minimize the risk if you can.