Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Air pollution in kitchens higher than on busy city streets: Study

Your kitchen may be more polluted than a
city center, a new study shows.
We published a post on kitchen air pollution last week, about researchers testing different kitchen exhaust fans and their ability to remove indoor air pollutants from one of the most important rooms in the home.

But with this new study being released, we will continue to talk about kitchens: According to researchers at the University of Sheffield, the air inside kitchens can be three times as bad as in city centers and along busy roads.

Say what?

City centers and busy roads have long been touted as highly polluted areas due to high traffic and automobile exhaust fumes, smog, lack of green spaces as well as other chemical and particle pollution sources. And now kitchens are supposed to be three times worse?

The study examined the air quality inside and outside three residential buildings and showed that nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels in the kitchen of a city center apartment with a gas cooker were three times higher than the concentrations measured outside of the building.

Health effects of airtight homes

The researchers are warning that more airtight homes and certain actions inside can expose us to high levels of indoor air pollutants, “with potential impacts on our health.”

They also included pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide (CO) and fine particles (PM2.5) in their research.

Cooking with gas led to higher amounts of fine particle pollutants in the home, which can be breathed deep into the lungs where they may cause inflammation and other health problems.

There are currently not enough standards or guidelines about indoor air pollution levels, the researchers warn.

The study was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC INTRAWISE Consortium).

Source: Click Green

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