Natural Gas Stoves and Indoor Air Pollution: A Cause for Concern?

New York Passes a Law Banning Natural Gas Stoves

The New York Legislature passed a measure that will ban fossil fuel burning appliances on Tuesday, May 2 2023. This law will be phased in over the coming years. There are likely to be challenges and amendments to the law as it moves forward. The ban is targeting new buildings and new equipment. 

The consumer won’t have to get rid of existing equipment. The focus of this article isn’t whether this is a good law, we will look at the possible dangers posed by using fossil burning appliances in your home. We will touch on the dangers posed by natural gas stoves and other fossil fuel burning appliances. We will look at methods to mitigate the potential dangers associated with natural gas stoves.

Are gas stoves dangerous for IAQ

Dangers posed by Natural Gas Stoves

A natural gas burning stove can contribute to indoor air pollution in several ways, posing potential health risks to those exposed to the pollutants. Here are some of the indoor air pollution dangers caused by a natural gas burning stove: These risks were detailed in studies reported by EHP 

  1. Carbon Monoxide (CO): Natural gas stoves produce carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas that can be dangerous in high concentrations. Exposure to carbon monoxide can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, and even death in extreme cases.
  2. Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2): Natural gas stoves can produce nitrogen dioxide, this pollutant that can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. It is also known to be the cause of coughing and shortness of breath. Prolonged exposure to nitrogen dioxide can lead to chronic respiratory problems like asthma and bronchitis.
  3. Particulate Matter (PM): Natural gas appliances can produce particulate matter, tiny particles that can be inhaled and cause respiratory problems, including asthma and lung cancer.
  4. Formaldehyde: Natural gas burning stoves can also produce formaldehyde, it is a colorless gas with a pungent odor. Exposure to formaldehyde can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, this can lead to headaches and respiratory problems.

Overall, the indoor air pollution dangers caused by a natural gas burning stove may pose a risk to the health of those who are exposed to them. To minimize exposure to these pollutants, it is recommended to ensure proper ventilation in the kitchen. The use of an air purifier may also help mitigate the risk levels.

Best Practices to Reduce the Dangers caused when using a Gas Stove

Here are 6 things you can do to help reduce the possible dangers encountered when using a gas stove for cooking in your home.

  1. Ensure Proper Ventilation: The best way to reduce the dangers associated with using a gas stove is to ventilate the area. Range hoods with an exhaust fan hooked up to an outside vent works well. Opening a window can add fresh air to the room as well.
  2. Regularly Maintain and Inspect Your Stove: In examining on the working condition of your stove check for gas leaks, be sure burners are not clogged if you suspect a gas leak turn off your stove and call a professional.
  3. Use Alternative Cooking Methods. Induction cooktops can boil water quickly and take the place of burners. Microwave ovens can fill in for a number of cooking processes. Air friers are another good way to lessen the burning of natural gas.
  4. Keep Your Stove Clean: A clean stove can operate more efficiently and produce less pollution. Remember to Wipe down the burners, grates, and stovetops to prevent the buildup of grease and other debris.
  5. Install A Carbon Monoxide Monitor: A carbon monoxide detector will alert you to any potential danger from gas stove emissions. Be sure to install a detector in or near the kitchen. Check all detectors regularly for battery life.
  6. Add a Kitchen Air Purifier: The use of a good kitchen air purifier can help remove many of the pollutants created when using your stove. We will explore this topic more in the next section of this article.

An Air Purifier can help Kitchen Air Quality

Air purifiers can be extremely helpful in improving air quality in the kitchen. Adding a HEPA air purifier with activated carbon filter can help remove some of the larger air quality issues associated with using a natural gas stove. While an air purifier will not remove all the emissions from a kitchen stove it can lessen any harmful indoor air pollution. 

The True HEPA filter used in a LakeAir brand air purifier will remove the particulate matter (PM), that is produced when burning natural gas. LakeAir uses only true HEPA filters. (To be considered a true HEPA filter it must remove at least 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 Micron). Not only will an HEPA filter keep pollution particles out of the air, but it will also help them not fall into your food. 

A University of Michigan study found that air purifiers with HEPA and  activated carbon filters can reduce levels of unwanted fumes and particulates from gas burning stoves. Every LakeAir HEPA air purifier includes an activated carbon filter. 

These carbon filters have been shown to be effective at removing carbon monoxide. This is one of the greater concerns in having a fossil fuel burning appliance in the kitchen. Activated carbon also adsorbs nitrogen dioxide, another leading pollutant from natural gas stoves.

Conclusions and Take-aways

The New York law banning natural gas burning stoves may be a bit of an overreaction. However, there is data that shows potential risks in using natural gas stoves. Overall, the studies and reports suggest that natural gas stoves could pose a health risk to people who use them. While these appliances are a common feature in many homes it is important to take note of the potential risks associated with using them. It is only pertinent to take measures to protect your home and family. 

Remember to ensure proper ventilation, regularly maintain your appliances, use alternate cooking methods, and keep your stove clean. Be sure to install carbon monoxide detectors and consider the addition of an HEPA air purifier with activated carbon filter. LakeAir sell products made for this exact use and can be found in the kitchen air purifier page.