Gas stoves can emit high levels of Benzene, linked to high risk of Leukaemiatext_fields
New York: A concerning study has revealed that combustion from gas stoves is associated with an increased risk of leukaemia and other blood cell cancers.
Cooking with gas stoves can elevate indoor levels of benzene, a carcinogen, surpassing those found in secondhand tobacco smoke.
Published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, the study demonstrates that even a single gas cooktop burner on high heat or a gas oven set to 350 degrees Fahrenheit can raise indoor benzene levels.
Researchers highlight that benzene not only remains in the immediate vicinity of the stove but also permeates the entire home, persisting in the air for hours.
"Benzene forms in flames and other high-temperature environments, such as the flares found in oil fields and refineries. We now know that benzene also forms in the flames of gas stoves in our homes," explained Rob Jackson, Professor of Earth system science at the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability.
The study emphasizes that while proper ventilation helps reduce pollutant concentrations, exhaust fans were often ineffective at eliminating benzene exposure.
Comparing different stove types, researchers found that gas and propane burners and ovens emitted 10 to 50 times more benzene than electric stoves. In contrast, induction cooktops emitted no detectable benzene at all.
Benzene emission rates during combustion were hundreds of times higher than those identified in recent studies focusing on unburned gas leaks in homes.
Furthermore, the study revealed that residential range hoods were not consistently effective in reducing benzene and other pollutant concentrations, even when vented outdoors.
Importantly, researchers also investigated benzene emissions from cooking various foods and found that pan-frying salmon or bacon resulted in zero benzene emissions. All measured benzene emissions originated from the fuel used, rather than the cooked food itself.
This study is the first to analyze benzene emissions during actual stove and oven usage, as previous research mainly focused on leaks when the appliances were turned off, without directly measuring resulting benzene concentrations.
A prior study led by Stanford University highlighted that gas-burning stoves in US households emit methane, contributing to a climate impact equivalent to the carbon dioxide emissions from approximately 500,000 gasoline-powered cars. Moreover, they expose users to pollutants like nitrogen dioxide, which can trigger respiratory ailments.
In 2013, a meta-analysis revealed that children living in homes with gas stoves had a 42 per cent higher risk of asthma compared to those residing in homes without gas stoves. Another analysis in 2022 estimated that 12.7 per cent of childhood asthma cases in the US can be attributed to gas stoves.
With inputs from agencies