Investigating the Impact of Stove Emissions on Longevity and Health

Anchal Garg, New Map of Life Fellow

Anchal Garg, a New Map of Life Fellow at the Stanford Center on Longevity, studies the hidden dangers of stove emissions, particularly how they impact the health and longevity of older adults.

Key Findings:
  • Air Pollutant Emission: Natural gas stoves release Nitrogen dioxide (a respiratory irritant that aggravates asthma symptoms), and Benzene (a human carcinogen that causes leukmeia).
  • Health Benchmarks: Benzene and nitrogen dioxide levels observed in several homes in United States exceeded the World Health Organization’s health criteria for chronic diseases which is 1 μg/m³ for reducing the risk of leukemia by benzene exposure and 40  μg/m³ for long-term health effects of NO2 exposure.
  • Pollutant Movement: Pollutants emitted by gas stoves in the kitchen spread to the living room and bedroom. Bedrooms are the places where people spend 1/3rd of their lifetime.
  • Ventilation Impact: Ventilation scenarios show that opening windows and using range hoods effectively reduce harmful pollutants. However, hoods are often underutilized, used only 28% of the time when cooking odors or humidity are noticeable.
Mitigation Tips:
  • Improve Ventilation: Use high-efficiency range hoods that are vented to the outside, exhaust fans, or open windows to increase airflow.
  • Regular Maintenance: Ensure your stove as well as hood is properly maintained to minimize emissions.
  • Add Indoor Plants: Certain plants, like spider plants and peace lilies, can help improve indoor air quality by absorbing pollutants. You can put these plants in your bedroom where you exposed almost one third of your life.
Why It Matters: The quality of indoor air significantly affects our health, particularly for older adults. By adopting these measures, we can reduce harmful emissions and create healthier living environments.

Learn more about the research of SCL’s New Map of Life Fellows