Home gas ranges produce toxic gases, Lawrence Berkeley Lab study says by Lisa M. Krieger, December 25, 2013, Mercury News
Air pollution isn’t just an outdoor problem. Unhealthy fumes may be emitted inside your own home if you’re cooking over an unvented gas stove. [and even if it is vented] Almost two-thirds of California households using gas burners in the winter without venting range hoods are exposed to gases that can cause breathing problems, according to a new study by a team at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. “Homes are exceeding air quality standards, exposing people to toxins who shouldn’t be,” said scientist Brett Singer, who contributed to the study. The Bay Area has strict rules about outdoor air pollution, with 18 “Spare the Air” alerts issued so far this season to ban the burning of wood or manufactured fire logs. There are also state ventilation rules for indoor furnaces and hot water heaters. But our stoves are largely overlooked.
The Berkeley researchers concluded that 62 percent of households using gas burners without venting in the winter are routinely exposed to excessive levels of nitrogen dioxide, 9 percent to carbon monoxide and 53 percent to formaldehyde, gases that can trigger respiratory problems and aggravate asthma and cardiovascular disease, especially in young children and older adults. “If these pollution levels were outdoors, the state would be required by law to submit a plan for how to clean up the air,” Singer said. “But they are inside a home.” Indoor pollution levels drop by half in the summer, when doors and windows are more likely to be open. The study, led by research scientist Jennifer Logue, is published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
“If it is unsafe to breathe outside, it is probably not a good idea to breathe it at home,” said Singer. Some of the fumes are emitted simply by burning natural gas, especially when it hits a cooktop pot or the metal inside an oven. Additional toxins are emitted by the cooking of food, whether fried, grilled or toasted. About half of homes in California and 34 percent of homes nationally have natural gas cooking burners. … In all, the scientists estimate that as many as 12 million Californians are exposed to levels of nitrogen dioxide above health standards as a result of cooking with gas burners. Nationally, there could be tens of millions more. [Emphasis added]
Pollutant Exposures from Natural Gas Cooking Burners by Jennifer M. Logue, Neil E. Klepeis, Agnes B. Lobscheid, and Brett C. Singer, received February 19, 2013, accepted November 1, 2013, advance publication November 5, 2013, Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), a monthly journal of peer-reviewed research and news published with support from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Gas cooking burners emit air pollutants that can affect residential indoor air quality and increase health risks. Emitted pollutants include nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and formaldehyde (HCHO). At elevated ambient concentrations, NO2 has been associated with exacerbation of asthma (Hajat et al. 1999) and an increase in daily deaths (Touloumi et al. 1997). At higher concentrations, NO2 has been associated with increased sensitivity to allergens in asthmatic patients (Tunnicliffe et al. 1994). Increased indoor NO2 concentrations from gas cooking have been associated with adverse health effects such as wheezing and decreased respiratory function (Jarvis et al. 1998). Many studies have examined gas appliancerelated concentrations of NO2 (Spengler et al. 1994; Yang et al. 2004) and CO (Akland et al. 1985; Fortmann et al. 2001) in homes. … The goal of this study was to estimate the impact of cooking with natural gas burners on inhome exposures to NO2, CO, and HCHO across a representative sample of Southern California homes. Particulate matter mass (PM) emissions, especially ultrafine particles (diameter <100 nm), are also a source of health concerns from natural gas burners, however PM was not addressed in this study.
When the proximity factors were applied, the subgroups with the greatest likelihood to experience acute exceedances were cooks followed by 05 year olds. [Emphasis added]
[Refer also to:
2001: The Health Hazards of Natural Gas The British medical journal, The Lancet, reported in 1996 that the use of domestic gas appliances, particularly gas stoves, was linked to increased asthma, respiratory illness, and impaired lung function especially in young women. Women using gas stoves had double the respiratory problems of women cooking on electric stoves. The same study showed that using extractor fans which vented the cooking fumes outside did not reduce adverse effects of gas. … The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Clean Air Guide (1993) identified gas water heaters, furnaces, unvented space heaters and cook stoves as significant contributors to chemical contamination in the home. … ”For the chemically susceptible individual this gas may be the worst form of fuel,” writes Dr. T. G. Randolph. But surprisingly, his studies found that when gas stoves were removed from the home of a person with chemical sensitivities, not only did their health improve, but so did the health of all family members. … Natural gas brings harmful chemicals into homes through the methane it contains. Methane (which gives the flame its blue colour as it does in propane) is an asphyxiant. … “Natural gas is dangerous for several reasons,” says health advocate Helen Lofgren . … “Unplanned leaks and the danger of explosion compound the risks of gas.” … But let’s keep it far away from the air we breathe inside our houses, apartment buildings and schools. If we consider health care costs and the impact of living with illness, bringing natural gas into our homes is not a sensible choice.
1997: MEDICAL-ENVIRONMENTAL REPORT: A Review of the Potential Health Effects of the Proposed Sable Gas Pipeline Project from the perspective of Environmentally Induced Illness/Chemical Sensitivity, Asthma and Allergy ]