Since civilization humans have been using fire as a source to cook food. With the passage of time, our instruments changed from wood to coal, to fossil fuels to automatic natural gas appliances such as stoves and ovens. But, looking forward to our environmental degradation, it’s time to change our gas appliance.
Climate And Health Impacts Of Using Natural Gas Stoves And Ovens
The unknown fact is that the usage of household stoves and ovens creates the same level of pollution in the environment as much created by motor vehicles, industrial gas emissions, etc. In addition to the gradual increase in global warming, this new study reveals that the use of natural gas appliances is also a reason for making our earth warmer by the emission of formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, nitric oxides, and unburned methane.
Over one-third of American households use natural gas in their kitchen, this gas is used through ovens and stoves. Earlier there was no such proof or any basis, but this study conducted by the scientists at Stanford University, reveals that emissions from the gas stove usage by Americans in their kitchen have the same climate-warming impact as a million gasoline-powered cars.
The researchers found that the stoves witness a direct emission of Methane and NO2, whether it’s ON or OFF. The emission of NO2 is centered on how much gas is burned. This NO2 gas is also a respiratory irritant and can lead to problems like asthma, coughing, wheezing, and other different breathing issues especially in children. Moreover, the stove releases 0.8% – 1.3% unburned methane gas into the atmosphere and scientists say methane gas is approximately 80 times more powerful in the short term than carbon dioxide.
The more shocking outcome of the study reveals that even if you are not using your stove, it will still slowly bleed methane directly into the atmosphere. The reason behind this emission might be the loose gas fitting, the loose gas line connecting the stove and gas cylinders. Methane also affects the air quality by increasing the concentration of tropospheric ozone, which may cause respiratory illness worldwide. Researchers have also found that people who do not use their range hoods or have a poor ventilation system can surpass the guidelines of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for around one hour of exposure to nitrogen dioxide by using their stoves for a minute only.
Initially, the idea of natural gas usage in cooking was a wonder because it is more efficient than coal and emits comparatively less carbon dioxide while burning, but it was the time when the fact of bleeding unburned methane was unknown to everyone. But Newton’s third law of motion remains always true, every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
For the study researcher used 53 homes in 7 California counties to measure the methane emissions. Methane emission was measured from gas cooktops, gas ovens, and boilers. Interestingly, the researchers found no relation between the age and cost of a stove with its emission of gases. An estimated 1.3% of the gas used was found to be emitted as unburned methane. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2019 had reported the emission of methane gas from household natural gas appliances. But the researchers estimated total emissions from stoves only, to be more than the emissions reported by the Environmental Protection Agency.
This study has opened a new chapter on the subject of climate and health issues. While considering both the issues the government should intervene in this by making new policies regarding the usage of natural gas appliances in households or changing the source of cooking from stoves to electrical appliances, as said by senior author Rob Jackson.