Airgle Corporation president (North America), Dr.Tyler Orehek, outlines the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) concerns caused by gas stoves.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently announced that it's considering regulating gas stoves, citing concerns about indoor air pollution and its link to childhood asthma. Yet it's important to note that the commission's regulations would only apply to new products and thus would do nothing to impact the over 40 million stoves already in American homes across the country.
A great deal of concern is focused around the notion that gas stoves cause indoor air pollution and childhood asthma. As gas stoves burn, they release methane gas, the world's second-most problematic greenhouse gas. Additionally, nitrogen dioxide is another by-product, which can cause respiratory disease and lead to asthma, inflamed airways and coughing, especially in individuals at higher risk and who are more susceptible to pulmonary health conditions.
In fact, one study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health estimated that nearly 13 per cent of childhood asthma cases in the US result from gas-burning stoves in the home, a figure similar to what's seen in second-hand smoke statistics. This is alarming and underscores the need for immediate action to improve indoor air quality.
It's worth noting that the effects of gas stoves on indoor air quality are not limited to the release of methane and nitrogen dioxide. If not properly ventilated, gas stoves can produce colourless, odourless, and toxic carbon monoxide. If exposure is high enough, carbon monoxide can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness and even death. This highlights the importance of proper installation, maintenance, the use of gas stoves and the need for adequate ventilation in homes and buildings where gas stoves are used.
A ban on gas stoves however is unrealistic and would negatively impact low-income communities and independently owned restaurants. Additionally, gas stoves are 25 per cent less expensive to operate than electric stoves, and transitioning to electric stoves is a significant burden on these groups. While a ban on gas stoves is not the answer, a number of steps can be taken to combat the risks associated with their use.
The best way to do so is to increase ventilation within spaces with gas stoves and utilize professional-grade air purifiers. Air purifiers like the ones made by Airgle Corp, which possess ample activated carbon, can effectively adsorb the various molecular pollutants emitted from gas-burning stoves. It's also advantageous to use air purifiers that possess an ultraviolet stage because UV helps neutralize and break apart the molecular bonds of gaseous pollutants.
While gas stoves have been linked to indoor air pollution, bans won’t work. Instead, focus should be placed on improving ventilation, utilizing professional-grade air purifiers, and implementing building codes and regulations that promote improved indoor air quality. In addition, it’s important to note that there are other sources of indoor air pollution other than gas burners, such as radon, mould, dust mites, tobacco smoke, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from paint, cleaning supplies, and other home furnishings.
As a result, tackling the indoor air pollution problem calls for a comprehensive strategy, which considers both gas stoves and other sources of pollution. Education on the dangers of poor indoor air quality, and the steps that can be taken to improve it, are critical in combating the negative effects of indoor air pollution. Increased ventilation and implementing air purifiers are effective, proactive measures to protect indoor air quality. No matter what, we must take steps to protect the health and well-being of our communities by ensuring that the air we breathe inside our homes and businesses are safe.
About the author
Tyler Orehek began his career in 2003 as a healthcare pracitioner. He has been an indoor air quality specialist since 2007. Airgle Corporation specialises in the most advanced medical-grade, air purification systems available. Airgle air purifiers are specifically engineered to combat airborne pathogens as small as 0.003 microns, ultra-fine particulates and VOCs in all indoor settings. Orehek is also a Council-Certified Indoor Environmental Consultant (CIEC), board-awarded by the American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC).