The rocky mountain institute published a report in May 2020 about an unnoticed secret threat that lingers in your kitchen. It’s an item that apparently is considered potentially dangerous for your health and you’ll discover what it is in this article.
We all know that the kitchen isn’t the safest area in your house, containing many materials that may be likely precarious, and where many unfortunate incident may reproduce, such as injuries as burns as reported by Burn Injury Online in America.
Gas stove is an element that is almost in every kitchen, and in America particularly this item poses a real threat to people’s health according to many reports.
Historically, this tool appeared in England in the 19 th century and became necessary with time. It was created by an American engineer called Benjamin Thompson, who was inspired by the hearths, traditional items wildly used before stoves. The idea was to create an item that could control the hearth’s heat, so Benjamin came up with a flat top surface with various circular rings that heat on their own. These machines began to be made from cast iron materials that could handle temperature changes and give a better appearance to the kitchens. Many companies started producing them in the 1840s and they had many uses such as heating and dying clothes.
In England, a designer called James Sharp had established an alternative for the American item, the first gas stove in 1826.
The installation of an extensive national pipeline network allowed the dispersion of gas stoves in the 1880s across Britain and other countries as well. But this wasn’t the case for US in which the use of gas stoves wasn’t that popular mainly for the unavailability of gas. However, that changed in the beginning of the 20th century when electricity started becoming more available which affected negatively the gas industry.
Stoves became popular in the US for many reasons. Mainly because they didn’t use coal and wood to function, and this made them relatively easy to use. These items became available in smaller sizes which was very convenient for people who lived in small places.
By the second decade of the 20th century, more designs of the stove were developed, starting by the cabinet range which resembled a piece of furniture, with individual draws housing an oven to help out bigger family units.
Many other designs were developed over the decades, where several valves were added to control the fuels’ quantity used by customers. These options made stoves very popular in the past and even nowadays, where about 40% of households in America still have them.
A study by the Rocky Mountain Institute, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Mothers Out Front and the Sierra Club explored the risks associated with using gas stoves at home, these items whose risk is still unknown by many people.
Data used in the study of gas stoves were taken along 20 years. The data was synthesized and recommendations were given for policymakers and researchers to alleviate the dangers related to these items. According to the report and as many studies have proved precedently, the gasses emitted from a stove are a source of air pollution that can be very harmful to people.
For example, it’s known that stoves discharge many gases in different amounts such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, formaldehyde and nitrogen dioxide which can be very harmful to one’s health. Carbon monoxide especially can cause headache, dizziness and even heart problem when inhaled for a certain amount (70 parts per million (PPM). A lower amount can also be risky for people who have pre-existing health issues.
Long term exposure to nitrogen can also cause asthma in kids according to The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with a higher probability going up to 42 % according to a study published in 2020. This gas is also linked to diabetes, cancer and heart issues. Many measurements proved that the nitrogen dioxide levels released from a gas stove represent a real risk according to the EPA.
The Rocky Mountain Institute and the other three organizations then brought up an interesting idea to stop the nitrogen dioxide from spreading in the kitchen and limit it harmful effects on health. For that, they explored an older paper which proved that electric stoves cut down the nitrogen dioxide emissions by 51 percent when compared to gas stoves. The Rocky Mountain Institute and its colleagues proposed therefore in their 2020 paper that replacing gas stoves with electric stoves produces the greatest decrease in indoor [nitrogen dioxide] concentrations.
David Lu, a man that helps run a business called Clarity which monitors outdoor pollution, had wanted to see the results concretely, so he conducted an experiment at his house, and he wrote the results in an article for the Vox website in May 2020, noting that during the time he was cooking and baking, the nitrogen dioxide levels reached close to 200 PPB which confirmed what the study highlighted. The best way to mitigate the risk of gas stoves is to purchase an electric stove. But there are other options too. A carbon monoxide detector could also be installed in the kitchen, or a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, which can help clear out the gases in the kitchen. Finally, opening doors and windows in the kitchen when cooking can also be helpful to get rid of the gazes released by the stove and moderate their effects.