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Jul 23, 2013 10:13 AM

Air pollution in your home from cooking

from the story about the air quality in your home

Emissions of nitrogen dioxide in homes with gas stoves exceed the Environmental Protection Agency’s definition of clean air in an estimated 55 percent to 70 percent of those homes, according to one model; a quarter of them have air quality worse than the worst recorded smog (nitrogen dioxide) event in London. Cooking represents one of the single largest contributors, generating particulate matter (formally known as PM2.5) at concentrations four times greater than major haze events in Beijing.

and here's the kicker

the population-wide health impact of indoor pollutants is on a par with that of car accidents, and greater than that of traditional concerns like secondhand smoke or radon

So be healthy, don't cook in your kitchen. Eat out. All the non-cookers can now have a great health justification for not cooking.

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  1. Changing the standards to require adequate venting as suggested in the article would be a help. That's one Big Brother idea I could get behind, particularly for rental properties.

    When we renovated our kitchen, I bought a vent hood that can suck up household pets and small children (another safety concern, I suppose!). My husband roasts coffee under it and I can barely smell it in the rest of the house.

    1 Reply
    1. re: grayelf

      that's funny - and ironic. One of our family members is in charge of industrial pollution issues in a Pac NW community ... they will enjoy that article.

      true too - i dislike the smell of cooking in my house - if i wanted that odor in my drapes, clothing, and even my hair - well, i suppose i'd work in a kitchen for hire.

      GE - if only i could get a vent hood that would suck up my neighbour's annoying yapper dogs who bark at us in our own home - then i would pay for that w/ big bucks. Excellent marketing concept!

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. The takeaway isn't that we shouldn't cook, but that we should have ventilation, and just as important, use it.

        It boggles my mind how people have accepted the microwave over the stove, with the "vent" that just blows air back in your face. And it boggles my mind even more when I see a newly remodeled kitchen, with a fancy gas stove, and the ventilation that was there has been removed in the redo! Wow. I have to wonder what these people were thinking.

        Anyone that uses a gas stove needs to have ventilation to the outside and use it every single time they cook. Not optional. And even with an electric stove, if one is doing anything more than boiling water, one needs ventilation to the outside (and to use it). The tiny oil droplets that get into the air from sautéing must be vented out, no matter what kind of stove you have.

        Most houses these days are build with no real ventilation for the kitchen, and most cooks who have ventilation don't use it because of the noise. Big mistake. I hope this research leads to more awareness about ventilation as kitchen necessity.

        1. I think that functional venting systems should be required by code for any residence.

          The filtered "vent" hood does not work, and everyone knows it does not work. Why not just admit that and mandate that going forward, venting should be just that: venting to the outside?

          2 Replies
          1. re: sueatmo

            Venting to the outside is definitely a must. Otherwise the pets and small children just get stuck in the walls ; -). Seriously, though, it was such a revelation to have proper venting when we redid our kitchen. Another bonus: your walls and ceilings stay way cleaner.

            1. re: grayelf

              Oh yes. I'd forgotten the grease stained bulkhead I used to clean years ago!

          2. My pre-war apartment in Manhattan had zero ventilation, and my next day cooking odors lingered like a fart in a snorkel.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Veggo

              you do have a way with words, Veggo. I can't imagine what you were cooking although I do know that some cooking aromas are great when fresh but wind up exactly as you describe the next day. Fish, cabbage and kasha come to mind.