With restaurants closed to in-person dining, you are probably cooking at home more than ever before. And while that may be positive news for your bank account or your waistline, cooking at home can have negative effects on your respiratory health.
The process of cooking on any kind of heat source can release particles in the air that you don’t want to breathe, but gas stoves in particular are a concern because of the nitrogen dioxide they release. Breathing nitrogen dioxide can cause nose and throat irritation, coughing and shortness of breath, permanent damage to the lungs over time and even death when exposed to high levels. And while you’re probably not cooking long enough for the level of nitrogen dioxide to be fatal, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has linked exposure to health issues such as diabetes, cancer and children developing asthma (read Kill Your Gas Stove in The Atlantic for a first-hand account by atmospheric chemist Heather Price).
And it’s not just nitrogen dioxide. Gas stoves can also emit sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide – all affecting your indoor air quality. Damage from exposure to toxic airborne chemicals can be long-lasting and difficult to recognize due to gradual accumulation in your body over your entire lifetime. So what can you do?
Well an obvious answer is to swap out your gas stove for electric or induction. But as mentioned, cooking any food can release particulate matter (scientific term for garbage in the air), so you should always turn on your exhaust fan or open the windows when cooking. Make sure to clean your exhaust fan filters regularly so they don’t become clogged – just remove them from the range hood and run them through the dishwasher or scrub with hot soapy water. Health Canada recommends that you also install at least one carbon monoxide detector in your home as well (see Cooking and Indoor Air Quality fact sheet).
At Ti-DOX, we believe the best way to keep yourself and your family safe from airborne contaminants like nitrogen dioxide is to install a SterilizAire™ unit to your furnace or HVAC system for clean indoor air 24/7. As air flows through the SterilizAire™ it is cleaned using a combination of hydroxyl radicals and UVC light, all contained within the unit. You just install it and forget about it!