A case of electric induction stoves vs gas stoves for healthy indoor environment

We spend 90 percent of our time indoors and inhale as much as 11,000 litres of air per day;  despite being very detrimental to our health indoor air quality isn’t regulated. Besides VOCs, biological pollutants, Formaldehyde from wood products polluting our indoor environment; gas stoves can increase Nitrogen Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide and particle pollution in our indoor environment to unhealthy levels. Older stoves have significantly higher levels of pollution. 

Carbon Monoxide at lower concentrations can cause fatigue to impaired brain & vision function. In higher concentration CO exposure can cause headaches, dizziness and impaired coordination and in extreme cases cardiac arrest and/or death. 

Nitrogen Dioxide concentrations from gas stoves are 50–400 percent higher than homes with electric stoves. Children are more susceptible because of their developing bodies and have a 42% chance of developing asthma particularly evident in lower income households and people with weaker immunity. Nitrogen Dioxide exposure is associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart problems, diabetes and cancer. Worsened cough, wheezing and increased asthma attacks are also common. 

A study found evidence that people with lung cancer faced greater risk from NO2, ozone, and other outdoor air pollutants. The study tracked the air pollution levels from 1988 to 2011 experienced by more than 350,000 cancer patients in California. The researchers found that exposure to these air pollutants shortened their survival. Eckel SP, Cockburn M, Shu Y-H, et al. F. Air pollution affects lung cancer survival. Thorax. 2016: 71: 891-898.

A new Rocky Mountain Institute Report published in collaboration with Physicians for Social Responsibility, Mothers Out Front, and Sierra Club, focuses on gas stoves’ impact on indoor air pollution made the following deductions: 

  1. Gas stoves are a primary source of combustion pollution inside the home. Cooking on gas can spike emissions of nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide to levels that would violate outdoor pollutant standards. 
  2. Homes with gas stoves can have nitrogen dioxide concentrations that are 50–400 percent higher than homes with electric stoves. 
  3. Certain populations are more susceptible to the risks of gas stove pollution.
  4. Children are more vulnerable to air pollution due to several factors including their developing lungs and smaller body size. Children in a home with a gas stove have a 24–42 percent increased risk of having asthma.
  5. Lower-income populations and communities of color may be disproportionately impacted, with risk factors including increased exposure due to smaller and older homes and higher rates of asthma.

However, that’s not to say that gas stoves are inherently dangerous. With the right ventilation and filtration, these appliances are safe to use in the home. But without appropriate safety measures, indoor air pollution can create serious health risks especially, especially in lower income communities and poorly designed homes. 

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HB +A Architects is an interdisciplinary San Francisco Architectural practice involved in design and research that aims to yield innovative, iconic buildings and urban environments. With founder Hafsa Burt serving as design director, the firm today consists of design professionals, who remain committed to the practice of architecture as a collaborative and innovative enterprise. Seeking to build projects worldwide, the firm specializes in Green building beyond LEED certification and Indoor Air Quality, targeting “healthy Buildings”. HB +A Architects is a dynamic and evolving practice that responds to the current social and technological conditions, as a commentary in their work. As a small-sized firm, the firm has the ability to provide hands-on, principal involvement from start to finish.

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