How Cooking With Gas Can Be Bad For Your Family’s Health
How Induction Stove Cooking Is Better For Your Family’s Health
The gas stove is beloved by millions of cooks in the United States. It has a place at the heart of 35% of American kitchens (some 40 million home cooks), cemented there by decades of “cooking with gas” advertising campaigns from utility companies who recognized the value of gas stoves as a pathway to much greater consumption of fossil fuels.
But homeowners are gradually becoming aware of the dangers posed by cooking with gas. Several studies have highlighted the health hazards of indoor air pollution from cooking. The New England Journal of Medicine was even prompted to publish an editorial in January 2020 urging that “new gas appliances be removed from the market.”
Researchers have estimated that living in a house that uses a gas stove for cooking has a negative health impact that is comparable to that of living with a smoker.
People who live in houses where the majority of cooking is done with gas are significantly more prone to respiratory issues such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Gas stoves produce PM2.5 (one of the most dangerous of all air pollutants), as well as formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and nitrogen dioxide. All of these pollutants have health consequences if not properly addressed.
A Gateway to Other Gas Appliances
While gas stoves account for a relatively small percentage of energy consumed in a gas-reliant home, they are often seen as a gateway appliance for the real natural gas guzzlers of furnaces and water heaters.
That’s because many homeowners have their houses hooked up for gas for the sole purpose of bringing in a gas stove. However, once that hook-up has been completed, the decision to switch to a gas furnace for space and water heating, and even a gas dryer for clothes becomes more appealing.
But while gas-powered furnaces, water heaters and clothes dryers emit air pollution, they vent their pollutants outside. A gas stove is unique in that it holds pride of place in our kitchens and yet is the one gas appliance in our home that is most likely unvented.
California is the only state that requires more ventilation for gas stoves, thanks to new regulations that have yet to be finalized. However, most other states are years away from adopting comparable rules and while federal regulators are paying attention to indoor air quality issues, they have so far refrained from regulating gas stoves more stringently.
The good news is that today’s induction stoves provide a great alternative to traditional gas stoves, and the prices are dropping fast enough to make them viable for many homeowners.
Induction stoves have several advantages over conventional electric or gas stoves, such as faster cooking times and more accurate digital temperature control. You can set the heat to within a fraction of a degree, rather than relying on the imprecise settings of High, Medium and Low that gas stoves offer.
Induction stoves also cook up to 50% faster than traditional electric or gas stoves while using up to 20% less energy than traditional electric stoves and a whopping 70% less than gas stoves. And they also take up less space than other types of stoves, which is a bonus in kitchens that are tight on space.
And because the cook top produces no heat, it’s safer to use around children and pets.
In recent years, several well-known chefs and restaurateurs have started to promote the use of induction cooktops asa way of counteracting the gas sector’s “cooking with gas” advertising slogan.
For homeowners interested in induction stoves, but who find the cost of a full-sized unit to be prohibitive, a two-burner portable induction cooktop is a great interim appliance. A portable cooktop offers all the benefits of induction cooking, but in a smaller, more convenient size and at a fraction of the cost.
These small units can be purchased for as little as $130 and can give you a good sense of what it would be like to ditch your gas stove in favor of a full induction stove. They’re also perfect for small apartments or homes where space is at a premium.
To sum up, gas stoves are hazardous to your health and the environment. Induction stoves are a great alternative, as they are faster, more efficient, and safer. If you’re not quite ready to make the switch to a full-sized induction stove, a portable cooktop is a great interim solution.
Michael Jones is is a solar consultant for Sunrun and the founder of SwitchingtoElectric.com, which explores the home electrification movement and helps homeowners to manage the transition. You can contact Michael here.