Cooking on a gas stove can produce up to 100 times more dangerous particles than car exhaust, a new study has revealed. PHOTO BY PIXABAY/PEXELS 
Cooking on a gas stove can produce up to 100 times more dangerous particles than car exhaust, a new study has revealed. PHOTO BY PIXABAY/PEXELS 

Cooking on a gas stove can produce up to 100 times more dangerous particles than car exhaust, a new study has revealed. PHOTO BY PIXABAY/PEXELS 



By Isobel Williams

Cooking on a gas stove can produce up to 100 times more dangerous particles than car exhaust, a new study has revealed.

The cookers pump out more nano-sized particles than petrol or diesel cars, leaving people at an increased risk of asthma or other respiratory illnesses.

And the effects would be particularly bad for children, due to their small size.

The study, published in the journal PNAS Nexus, focused on tiny airborne nanoparticles that are only 1-3 nanometres in diameter, which is just the right size for reaching certain parts of the respiratory system and spreading to other organs.

The cookers pump out more nano-sized particles than petrol or diesel cars, leaving people at an increased risk of asthma or other respiratory illnesses. PHOTO BY PURDUE UNIVERSITY/SWNS 

Previous research has shown that children who live in homes with gas stoves are more likely to develop asthma.

However not much was known about particles smaller than three nanometres, called nanocluster aerosol, because they’re very difficult to measure.

The team from Purdue University set out to bridge this knowledge gap using state-of-the-art air quality instrumentation provided by the German company GRIMM AEROSOL TECHNIK.

With this technology, they were able to measure these tiny particles down to a single nanometer while cooking on a gas stove in a “tiny house” lab.

Called the Purdue zero Energy Design Guidance for Engineers lab, the tiny house has all the features of a typical home but is equipped with sensors for closely monitoring the impact of everyday activities on a home’s air quality.

The study, published in the journal PNAS Nexus, focused on tiny airborne nanoparticles that are only 1-3 nanometres in diameter, which is just the right size for reaching certain parts of the respiratory system and spreading to other organs. PHOTO BY TORSTEN DETTLAFF/PEXELS 

This test environment combined with the GRIMM AEROSOL instrument allowed the researchers to collect extensive data on indoor nanocluster aerosol particles during realistic cooking experiments.

These findings were then compared with known outdoor air pollution levels.

The researchers found that as many as 10 quadrillion nanocluster aerosol particles could be emitted per kilogram of cooking fuel — matching or exceeding those produced by vehicles with internal combustion engines.

This would mean that adults and children could be breathing in 10-100 times more nanocluster aerosol from cooking on a gas stove indoors than they would from car exhaust while standing on a busy street.

Associate professor Brandon Boor from Purdue’s Lyles School of Civil Engineering said: “These super tiny nanoparticles are so small that you’re not able to see them. They’re not like dust particles that you would see floating in the air.

“After observing such high concentrations of nanocluster aerosol during gas cooking, we can’t ignore these nano-sized particles anymore.”

The models also showed that nanocluster aerosol particles are very persistent in their journey from the gas stove to the rest of the house.

Even though many particles rapidly diffused to other surfaces, the models indicated that approximately 10 billion to a trillion particles could deposit into an adult’s head airways and tracheobronchial region of the lungs.

The team added that these doses would be even higher for children as the smaller the human, the more concentrated the dose.

Assistant professor Nusrat Jung who designed the tiny house lab with her students and co-led this study said: “You would not use a diesel engine exhaust pipe as an air supply to your kitchen.”

The researchers encourage families to turn on their exhaust fans whilst cooking, which they believe will likely redirect the particles away from their lungs.

Dr. Boor concluded: “Since most people don’t turn on their exhaust fan while cooking, having kitchen hoods that activate automatically would be a logical solution.

“Moving forward, we need to think about how to reduce our exposure to all types of indoor air pollutants.

“Based on our new data, we’d advise that nanocluster aerosol be considered as a distinct air pollutant category.”

Produced in association with SWNS Talker