A new study recently found that gas stove can emit dangerous chemicals that can potentially cause cancer.
Researchers from the PSE Healthy Energy found that stoves in California were emitting 12 hazardous chemicals, including known carcinogen benzene. These chemicals were found in 99 percent of stoves tested for the study, making the problem near-universal.
Benzene has been linked to leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other dangerous health conditions. Contamination of these chemicals in the air was up to seven times what health officials consider to be acceptable exposure levels. (Related: Your health can deteriorate quickly if you don’t improve your indoor air quality.)
Experts also warned against the use of these stoves for environmental impact and in-home pollution that they expose residents to. The researchers found that natural gas also contains a number of air toxins all in a category of their own as chemicals that are known to cause cancer and other serious health problems.
A separate study also noted that most people haven’t really considered their homes are where the pipeline ends. Despite warnings, over 40 million American households still use gas stoves.
Previous research already showed that having a gas stove at home can cause as much air pollution as a highway and can cause harm to children suffering from asthma.
For this particular study, the researchers gathered gas samples from 159 stoves across 16 California counties and used a model that calculated an average exposure to chemicals by using the size of the kitchen, ventilation and the number of chemicals being leaked.
Benzene, the most dangerous chemical of the bunch, was found in nearly every stove.
Hexane was found to be the one with the highest concentrations with an average of around 7.5 parts per million by volume in household air. The compound is known to cause permanent weakness and nerve damage in the feet, legs and hands of people who suffer from long-term exposure. Other symptoms include muscular weakness, eyesight issues, headaches, fatigue and others.
Cyclohexane, a chemical that can cause burns and irritation of the nose and throat, was the second most common chemical at five parts per million by volume (ppmv), which is significantly more than the two ppmv found in each stove unit.
This gas is considered to be a carcinogen and had been linked to leukemia and other blood-based cancers. It is also sometimes found in glues and paint products, while smokers are at risk of being exposed to it.
“Anywhere natural gas is leaked, hazardous air pollutants are likely being released as well,” Dr. Kelsey Bilsback, co-author of the study said.
Dr. Jonathan Levy, an environmental health professor at Boston University also said that gas stoves pose a real danger, warning that they were significant sources of nitrogen dioxide exposure and other chemicals.
He explained that nitrogen dioxide is a byproduct of fuel combustion, adding that it has been associated with more severe asthma and increased use of rescue inhalers for children. “This gas can also affect asthmatic adults, and it contributes to both the development and exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,” Levy said.
Benzene can also be emitted by a stove that has been switched off. While the amount of benzene coming from the stove is limited and does not reach levels considered to be toxic by health officials, there are still worries over continued exposure to this.
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Watch the video below to learn how to make your own smoke-free wood stove.
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