From countertop slow cookers to instant-read thermometers, cooks love their gadgets. The interest is growing in magnetic induction cooktops – surfaces that cook much faster than conventional stoves, without lighting a fire or heating an electric coil.
Induction has long been popular in Europe and Asia. It is more energy-efficient than standard stoves. But studies have raised concerns about indoor air emissions from gas stoves.
Academic researchers and organizations such as the California Air Resources Board report that gas stoves can release hazardous air pollutants while they are operating and even when they are turned off.
As an environmental health researcher who works on housing and indoor air, I have participated in studies that measure air pollution in homes and develop models to predict how different types of indoor sources contribute to air pollution. Here’s some perspective on how gas stoves can contribute to indoor air pollution and whether you should consider moving away from gas.
One of the main air pollutants associated with using gas stoves is nitrogen dioxide or NO₂. It is a byproduct of fuel combustion. Nitrogen dioxide exposure at home is associated with more severe asthma and increased use of rescue inhalers in children. This gas can affect adults with asthma. It contributes to both the development and exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Nitrogen dioxide in the home comes from outside air that infiltrates the home and from indoor sources. Road traffic is the most significant outdoor source; Surprisingly, the levels are higher near the main road. Gas stoves are often the most significant indoor source, with a larger contribution from larger burners that run longer.
Gas Industry Location Gas stoves are a minor source of indoor air pollutants. This is true in some homes, especially in exposures averaged over months or years.
How much indoor pollution you get from gas stoves is affected by the structure of your home, meaning indoor environmental exposure to NO₂ is higher for some people than others. Those who live in larger homes have working range hoods that vent to the outdoors, and generally, well-ventilated homes will be less exposed than smaller homes with poorer ventilation.