When we cook on a stove, a range of pollutants can be produced and released into the air. Electric coil burners in stoves, ovens, and toasters can release fine and ultrafine particles, while gas burners can produce nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), particulate matter (PM), and formaldehyde. The burning of organic matter during cooking – particularly with high-temperature activities like frying, broiling, and sautéing – produces acrolein, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and particulate matter (PM).
Without proper ventilation, these pollutants are trapped inside our homes and can become elevated. Nitrogen dioxide is of particular concern and its concentration tends to be higher than the others after cooking activities, and it can make you more sensitive to things you’re already allergic to, such as pet dander. Regular exposure to NO2 can also lead to wheezing, asthma, and other respiratory problems.
So what should you do to reduce your exposure to these pollutants while cooking? One of the most effective things you can do is install a range hood. Make sure range hood is vented to the outside, and use the range hood each and every time you cook. And if you use a gas stove, make sure you turn on the range hood as soon as you turn on the stove, as toxic carbon monoxide is emitted right away when you turn the knob.
Also keep in mind that the range hood should be large enough to cover the entire cooktop, and low enough to be able to capture the pollutants.
For more information about the importance of using a range hood and how to select a range hood, check out these links: