Home cooking creates indoor air pollution

Researchers at Berkeley Lab, also known as the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a national research center affiliated with the University of California system and the National Academy of Sciences, have investigated air pollution caused by home cooking, and the efficacy of various kitchen range exhaust systems available in California.

A research team led by Brett Singer tested a variety of kitchen range hoods, the units that sit above typical kitchen burners and, ideally, suck up kitchen fumes released when burning natural gas, cooking oils and food.

When cooking with gas burners, a significant number of homes throughout California exceed outdoor air quality standards, releasing excessive amounts of nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and ultrafine particles. These contaminants can reach their peak around the holidays, when cooking is often more frequent. Keep in mind, this is happening inside the home, which can equate to having a freeway-level-polluted kitchen, living room and bedroom, even if you can’t sense it.

The first line of defense is typically a range hood, mentioned earlier. However, the study found that the quality of range hoods can vary, capturing anywhere from 15 to 98 percent of pollutants, and there’s no independent rating system for range hood effectiveness to differentiate one from the next.

A high quality air purifier can reduce the fumes, gasses and particles released by cooking, and improve overall indoor air quality. Dual activated carbon HEPA filters help trap and remove the particles released from cooking, and in the process reduce cooking odors. What’s more, a system like Airmega can sense the change in indoor air quality and activate automatically—even changing speed to adjust air intake through the carbon filters, based on real-time air quality—so you can sauté away with greater peace of mind.

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