When you read the title of this article, what is the first source of indoor air pollution that comes to mind? Is it the flat-iron you use to straighten your hair? Is it the new paint you just put on your walls? What about the harsh chemicals you use to clean your floors and countertops? While these are all terrible for the air quality of your home, the one source of indoor air pollution that often goes unnoticed is the equipment you use to cook in your kitchen.
1.Coal and Wood Stoves
We have all had the common experience of turning on the range hood above the stove, or cracking open a door or window because cooking caused our kitchens to fill with smoke. Carlos Dora, coordinator for the World Health Organization (WHO) Interventions for Healthy Environments unit states, “the home with a dirty cookstove using coal can reach 2,000 or 3,000 micrograms per cubic meter of particles.” In simpler terms, that number is around 200 to 300 times the WHO’s average daily standard for maximum concentration of the fine particles of air pollution (Brink, 2014). In terms of size, 2,000 to 3,000 micrograms per cubic meter translates to 25 to 100 times smaller than a human hair. A particle that small can easily settle into deep parts of the human lungs (Brink, 2014).
Even if you aren’t cooking with wood or coal, Kirk Smith, professor of global environmental health at the University of California at Berkeley, states, “having an open fire in your kitchen is like burning 400 cigarettes an hour” (Brink, 2014). Gas stoves emit nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and formaldehyde (HCHO), each of which can exacerbate various respiratory and other health problems (Jarvis, 1998, 1996).
It is easy to think the quick solution is to switch from coal or gas burners to electric burners. Unfortunately, that transition will not completely eliminate the pollution problem. Jennifer Logue, lead author of a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study reported in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal that simply cooking food emits pollutants, especially particulate matter and a harmful organic compound Acrolein—a strong irritant for skin, eyes, and nasal passages (Nicole, 2014). “Just switching from gas to electric will not solve all your pollution issues with cooking,” Logue says. The only way to combat indoor air pollution is to have kitchen ventilation equipment that removes the pollutants and filters the air.
4.Poor Ventilation Technology
However, current ventilation technology on the market is not up to the task of combating this indoor air pollution crisis. The majority of wall-mounted range hoods do not extend all the way over front stove burners and do not push harmful pollutants outside of the home (Delp, Singer, 2012). Some of the highest performance models produce sounds levels too high for conversation while cooking. This excessive noise inevitably ends up discouraging people using venting range hoods on a regular basis (Mullen, 2013).
According to Brett Singer and Woody Delp, staff scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who study indoor air quality and cooking emissions in particular, even moderately effective venting range hoods can reduce exposures to cooking-related pollutants (Delp, Singer, 2012). The question then becomes, “Why settle for moderately effective ventilation technology?” To truly improve the air quality and safety of our homes, consumers need a product that is affordable, efficient, and quiet.
Nouvair is the revolutionary new product taking the indoor pollution prevention world by storm. Nouvair is an elegant device that sucks in and filters cooking smoke, food odor, and harmful pollutants right above the stovetop. At about 6.3 inches in diameter and about 6 inches in height, this convenient and portable device is designed to provide close-range air filtration anywhere you need it to.
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Brink, S. (2014, March 27). WHO Report: Indoor Air Pollution Is Greatest Environmental Health Risk. Retrieved May 23, 2017, from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/03/140325-world-health-organization-indoor-fuel-pollution-death/
Delp WW, Singer BC. Performance assessment of U.S. residential cooking exhaust hoods. Environ Sci Technol 46(11):6167–6173 (2012); http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/es3001079.
Jarvis D, et al. The association of respiratory symptoms and lung function with the use of gas for cooking. Eur Respir J 11(3):651–658 (1998); http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9596117.
Jarvis D, et al. Association of respiratory symptoms and lung function in young adults with use of domestic gas appliances. Lancet 347(8999):426–431 (1996); http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(96) 90009-4.
Mullen NA, et al. Participant Assisted Data Collection Methods in the California Healthy Homes Indoor Air Quality Study of 2011-13. LBNL-6374E. Berkeley, CA:Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (August 2013). Available: http://eetd.lbl.gov/node/49754.
Nicole, W. (2014, January). Cooking Up Indoor Air Pollution: Emissions from Natural Gas Stoves. Retrieved May 23, 2017, from https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/122-a27/