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The holiday season often entails spending a lot of hours in the kitchen cooking. As Arizonans prepare holiday meals to share with their families and friends, a guide by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund offers tips on how to minimize unhealthy air pollution from cooking with gas in your home. Without proper precautions, too much exposure to a gas stove can lead to an unnecessary and invisible health risk, since gas stoves can cause elevated levels of indoor pollution that would exceed legal limits for outdoor air.
“For many Americans, the kitchen is a special place during the holidays -- a place for bonding, for catching up with family and friends, and for making meals that we remember and look forward to all year,” said Diane E. Brown, Executive Director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund. “The kitchen shouldn’t be a place where we have to worry about breathing pollutants from our appliances.”
Cooking with gas relies on combusting methane. Even doing so for a short time can lead to unhealthy levels of gases such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) inside your home that far exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) safety standards for outdoor pollution. Breathing NO2 is dangerous for everyone, but especially children. An analysis found that children living in homes with gas cooking had a 42% higher chance of experiencing current asthma symptoms and a 24% higher chance over their lifetime of being diagnosed with asthma.
Arizona PIRG Education Fund’s guide lists several low and no-cost precautions, including how to install and use proper ventilation. The guide takes individuals through different vent hood styles and placements, the difference between ducted and non-ducted vents, and how to calculate how many cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air you need to remove from your stove and kitchen to stay safe and healthy. The guide also recommends purchasing a low-cost, portable induction cooktop, which can provide alternative, pollution-free burners and help minimize the amount of time you spend cooking with gas.
Brown added that the guide pulls back the curtain on this hidden danger and gives Arizonans the tools they need to keep their families and friends healthy and fully enjoy their holiday meals.
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