Monday, June 2, 2014

On the cover of this month's EHP: Harmful Cooking Pollutants and How Range Hoods Help

My latest story for Environmental Health Perspectives, featured on the cover no less, has all the elements of another overblown health scare dwelling right inside your very home: the use of modern gas and electric stoves, and the process of cooking itself, can potentially release unhealthy amounts of various pollutants into your home. The risk is higher in newer, more energy-efficient homes because the bad air can literally be trapped inside -- particularly during the summer, when your windows are less likely to be open. Scientists are still studying the precise health impacts, though adverse effects from some of the pollutants have already been demonstrated in young children with asthma.

The good news is that a simple range hood helps a lot by venting the pollutants to the outdoors (as long as you switch it on!). As my story explains, most existing consumer range hoods are sub-par, but they're certainly better than nothing. And improvements are on the way.

File this under: be aware, but not freaked out. As we build tighter and tighter homes, it'll become a bigger and bigger concern, but building codes and hood manufacturers are looking to keep pace. Read the whole story here.