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Residential Cooking Exposure Study Finds Unhealthful Levels
Research scientists recently completed an ARB-funded study that showed very high
levels of several pollutants in indoor air during different types of cooking activities.
The levels measured for some cooking activities exceeded health-based standards
and guidelines, and could pose a potential risk to home occupants, especially
susceptible groups of the population such as young children and the elderly. This is
the first comprehensive study of indoor air pollutant exposures from a wide variety of
cooking activities in a home. The study was conducted by ARCADIS Geraghty &
Researchers measured the levels of airborne particles and pollutant gases during
cooking in a test home in northern California. They tested the indoor air quality
impacts of 32 cooking activities, using both gas and electric ovens and stovetops.
Tests were conducted using both typical and realistic “worst case” conditions.
• Several types of cooking activities produced very high levels of particles in the
kitchen and other rooms of the house. Levels often exceeded ARB's indoor air
quality guideline level and ambient air quality standard for PM10 of 50
micrograms per cubic meter for one day. (PM10 includes all particles that are 10
microns or less in size, which is about one-sixth the diameter of a human hair.)
Kitchen levels of PM10 ranged from 60 to 1400 micrograms per cubic meter
during cooking activities with the gas stove, including broiling fish, baking
lasagna, frying tortillas, stir-frying and cooking a fried chicken dinner.
• The self-cleaning cycle of the gas stove produced the highest pollutant levels by
far -- the maximum level of PM10 was over 3,600 micrograms per cubic meter
over several hours.
• Oven cleaning in the electric stove also produced high levels of particles in the
house: nearly 1,000 micrograms per cubic meter of PM10. Surprisingly, cooking
with the electric stove also produced very high pollutant