In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed health harms of outdoor air pollution and how to lower health risks by reducing your exposure. Increasing evidence suggests that we should also think about our indoor air quality, and research points to the potential harms of gas stoves.
If you have a gas stove, as many people do, understanding the health issues and taking steps to protect your household can help.
Ventilate your kitchen when cooking
- Open your windows while you cook.
- Use exhaust fans that move the air to the outdoors. Although this will contribute to outdoor pollution, it does lower exposure to unhealthy air at higher concentrations in confined spaces. (Ductless fans that recirculate the fumes through filters do not work as well.)
Use air purifiers
Although they do not remove all pollutants, air purifiers can improve indoor air quality. Choose an air purifier that has a high clean air delivery rate (CADR) matched to the size of your room. Air purifiers are easy to move around, so you can have it near the kitchen during the day and move it to the bedroom when you sleep. Remember to replace the filters when they are dirty.
Switch to electric appliances for cooking
- Cost, clutter, and environmental concerns may guide your choices. Production of new appliances consumes natural resources, and old appliances often wind up in landfills. Here are a few options to consider:
- Use an electric kettle instead of boiling water on the range.
- Cook with an electric slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, toaster oven, or microwave.
- Replace a gas stove with an electric stove. See these tips on making this switch and for recycling appliances. If you are a Massachusetts resident, you might qualify for a $500 rebate from Mass Save on a swap this year from a gas to an induction stove. (Other states may offer similar incentives.)
This is an excerpt from an article that appears on the Harvard Health Publishing website.
Wynne Armand is a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, an assistant professor in medicine at Harvard Medical School, and associate director for MGH Center for the Environment and Health.