New studies are focusing fresh attention on the dangers of poor indoor air quality in your kitchen, and offering fresh evidence that a range hood makes a poor air purifier. Of course, indoor air pollution isn’t new. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has previously pointed out that “studies of human exposure to air pollutants by EPA indicate that indoor levels of pollutants may be 2 to 5 times – and occasionally more than 100 times – higher than outdoor pollutant levels.” But the new studies focus specifically on the kitchen, where families congregate and spend much of their indoor time. The kitchen is also typically asourceof pollutants, not just a container.
Air purifiers such as the IQAir GC MultiGas, designed to filters gases, odors, chemicals and particles, can help clean the air in your kitchen. Cooking odors are caused by gases. Spices and different foods give off gases in our homes when they are exposed to heat as part of the cooking process. Sometimes these smells are pleasant for a time, but they can linger long after the meal has been cooked, leading to an unpleasant accumulation of odors. IQAir’s activated carbon filters are ideal for absorbing the gases that cause these cooking odors. They can remove the unpleasant “after scents” and leave your home smelling fresh and clean.
Gas stoves in the kitchen also generate nitrogen dioxide and other indoor air pollutants. A study at Missouri University of Science and Technology showed that range hoods can reduce pollutants emanating from cooking on thebackburners of the stove, but only by about half. They tested the efficiency of those over-the-stove systems against nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and fine particles. And while the range hood was capable of removing only about half of the pollutants from the back burners, it was even less effective for the front burners.
Meanwhile, another new study released by Sheffield University in the U.K. measured indoor pollution levels in kitchens and found that pollution levels, especially for nitrogen dioxide, can be three times higher than concentrations of pollutants outside, even in urban areas with elevated pollution. “As we make our homes more airtight to reduce heating costs, we are likely to be exposed to higher levels of indoor air pollution, with potential impacts on our health,” one lead researcher told a U.K. publication.
Among the key findings of the Sheffield study:
- Nitrogen oxide levels in an apartment with a gas range were three times higher than the outdoor air in the city center.
- The indoor pollution levels exceeded were higher than acceptable levels in the UK for outdoor air pollution.
In addition to pollution from cooking, another key source of pollution in a kitchen is cleaning products. Here again, an air purifier such as the IQAir GC MultiGas can make a difference by filtering volatile organic compounds and other pollutants from the air. The EPA further suggests reducing the presence of chemical pollutants in the first place by shopping for products that are labeled “low-VOC, readily biodegradable, bio-based (such as citrus- and pine-based products) and solvent free.”