Is This Type of Appliance Endangering Your Health?

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Natural gas-powered appliances such as stoves, ovens and water heaters in your home can increase your risk of developing respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and may even lead to premature death, according to a new study.

Researchers at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health found that after just 60 minutes of using a gas-powered stove and oven at the same time in a home, levels of nitrogen dioxide exceeded both national and California ambient air quality standards more than 90% of the time.

Nitrogen dioxide is one of the gases that contributes to smog formation.

The report — which was commissioned by the Sierra Club — says:

“Exposure to the pollutants produced from gas appliances can be detrimental to human health; thus, one significant benefit of replacing natural gas … appliances with electric appliances would be the elimination of indoor air pollution that comes from burning gas indoors.”

The report notes that natural gas-powered appliances emit several air pollutants, including:

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Nitrogen oxides (including nitrogen dioxide)
  • Particulate matter
  • Formaldehyde

The researchers also say concentrations of carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide resulting from gas cooking are highest for smaller homes, like apartments.

In addition, insufficient ventilation can exacerbate indoor air pollutant concentrations. Less than 35% of California residents use range hoods to improve ventilation when cooking, the researchers say.

To combat the problem, the researchers suggest dumping gas-powered appliances for all-electric alternatives. According to the researchers, there would be 354 fewer deaths and 304 fewer cases of chronic bronchitis each year in California alone if all residential gas appliances were replaced with clean electric versions.

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