Gas stoves are still in use, but are they safe? Here's what you need to know


Earlier this week, the Department of Energy released new energy efficiency guidelines with “slight improvements” for gas and electric stoves. Approximately 97% of existing gas stoves on the market already meet the new standards, so the impact on both consumers and kitchen equipment manufacturers will be minimal.

The new measure, which will take effect in 2028, will address the environmental impact of using natural gas stoves (though it is unclear how much), but it will address the potential associated with the popular large-scale stoves. does nothing to address growing concerns about health risks. Home appliances.

Are natural gas stoves safe? How can you protect yourself from harmful toxins caused by gas stove leaks? We want to answer both questions to reduce the risk to your home and family. Masu.

Are gas stoves safe?

Further research is needed, but Two recent studies Leaks from natural gas stoves are more common than previously known, and leaked gas has been shown to pose a greater threat to long-term health, especially children's respiratory health (more below) .

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The debate over the safety of gas stoves reached a climax in January 2023, when U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission official Richard Trumka revealed in an interview with Bloomberg that natural gas stoves are dangerous. He suggested that if it was found out, it could be banned.

Since then, Trumka returned a comment After a maelstrom of backlash. Although the CPSC has not issued a formal statement that natural gas stoves are dangerous, there is growing evidence to the contrary.

As many as 40% of stoves in the United States run on natural gas. When unburned, natural gas contains harmful atmospheric toxins such as benzene, a chemical linked to cancer, and methane, which is harmful to the environment. In theory, harmful toxins in natural gas are removed during combustion, but a Harvard University study last year proved that toxic unburned gases often leak out when stoves are not in use. . The study found that odorants added to natural gas to help people spot leaks are inconsistently used, making it difficult to spot gas leaks with the nose.

Another study in December 2022 showed that U.S. homes with natural gas stoves had a 13% increase in the incidence of childhood asthma. In some states, including Illinois, New York and California, the numbers were even higher.

Gas stove leaks are often dangerous in winter.

Gas stoves are more dangerous during the cold season, when many people close their windows, making it more difficult to ventilate the kitchen.

There are simple ways to prevent and detect hazardous air quality conditions and keep yourself safe. Adding a powerful fan, air purifier, or both to your kitchen and running them when the stove is on will make the air quality less likely to become dangerously poor.

How to protect yourself from natural gas

1. Keep the kitchen well ventilated and always run the ventilation fan.

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Keeping your kitchen windows unbroken while cooking is your best defense against harmful toxins and poor air quality.

Bruce Bisping/Getty Images

Keeping your kitchen well-ventilated is one of your best defenses against gas leaks, airborne chemicals, and toxins, especially if you're cooking with gas. Most kitchens have windows. Weather permitting, leave it open or cracked all the time while cooking.

During this cold season, breaking windows isn't always a viable option, so you should consider adding window glass. powerful fan Helps disperse potentially harmful concentrated air.

Also, run the exhaust fan over the range whenever the oven burner or stove is on, and keep it running for about 20 minutes after you've finished using it. This is because harmful substances such as benzine and carbon monoxide may still remain in the air.

2. Monitor the air quality in your kitchen

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Airthings View Plus monitors air quality 24 hours a day and alerts you when conditions become dangerous.

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Perhaps even more important than kitchen ventilation is monitoring air quality, and some devices are designed to do just that. Adding a carbon monoxide detector is a good start, but in most cases there are only so many toxins that can be detected.More advanced air quality monitors such as Airthings View Plus and nest protect Register other volatile organic compounds (the bad ones) and sync with the app to alert you directly via your mobile device when your air quality becomes dangerous.

As a bonus, monitors like Airthings detect the naturally occurring airborne carcinogen radon and other harmful VOCs emitted by things like plastic wrapping and packaging.

3. Do not operate the burner without ignition.

It may seem obvious, but running the gas for more than a second or two before lighting can release harmful toxins into your kitchen. If your stove burners do not light quickly, we recommend having your stove inspected, repaired, or replaced. Once you have finished cooking, double check that all burners are switched off.

4. Adding an air purifier can help, but it doesn't solve everything

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HEPA air purifiers reduce volatile organic compounds, but they cannot remove them. It must be used in conjunction with other protection measures against deteriorating air quality in the kitchen.

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HEPA air purifier It helps purify dirty air, and adding this can reduce the risk of airborne toxins in your kitchen. Natural gas contains several toxins that air purifiers cannot remove, such as benzene and carbon monoxide. Eating food next to the stove isn't a panacea for poor kitchen air quality. HEPA air purifiers can reduce but not eliminate these harmful volatile organic compounds. These products should be used in conjunction with other protection and safeguards.

5. Have your gas stove checked for leaks.

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If you're worried about your stove leaking gas, call your gas company and they may come out to inspect it for free.

Brett Tyrone

A Harvard University study last year showed that gas stoves leak far more when not in use than previously thought. Because this gas is unburned, it is especially toxic if inhaled. If you're concerned about how much gas your stove is leaking, you can have your gas company service representative test it or hire a professional.

This is especially important if you smell gas in your kitchen. If so, you can be sure that there is probably a gas leak and you should vacate your home until the problem is identified. If you want to test for gas leaks yourself, you can purchase a detector for about $1. $24 on Amazon.

6. Switch to propane or electric stove

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Induction stoves pose a much lower risk than natural gas stoves.

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This is the most reliable solution, but also the most inconvenient and expensive. Switching to an electric stove or non-toxic propane fuel reduces the risks associated with natural gas. Cooking with an electric stove can also have a negative impact on air quality, as burnt food and oil can release toxins into the air. Although the risks are much lower than with natural gas, there is still good reason to keep your kitchen ventilated and test the air quality regularly.

Check more CNET Home Tips including how to do it Reduce your monthly internet bill And that 3 places you should never install home security cameras.



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