Health impacts and demographic inequities from nitrogen dioxide emissions in US homes using gas and propane stoves

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

In a recent study published in Science Advances, researchers quantified indoor nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions from gas and propane stoves and assessed their health impacts and demographic disparities in exposure among United States (U.S.) populations.

Study: Nitrogen dioxide exposure, health outcomes, and associated demographic disparities due to gas and propane combustion by U.S. stoves. Image Credit: M-Production/Shutterstock.comStudy: Nitrogen dioxide exposure, health outcomes, and associated demographic disparities due to gas and propane combustion by U.S. stoves. Image Credit: M-Production/Shutterstock.com

Background 

Gas and propane stoves, used in over 50 million U.S. homes, emit pollutants like NO2 and benzene (C6H6), often exceeding health safety levels. Long-term NO2 exposure is linked to severe health issues, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Traditional studies lack precision in assessing exposure due to variations in stove usage and ventilation.

Further research is needed to refine exposure assessments and understand the full range of health impacts across different demographics, improving mitigation strategies and policy interventions.

About the study 

In the present study, different terms were clearly defined to standardize the terminology used throughout the research. A "cooktop" was identified as a flat surface featuring two to six cooking elements, while "burners" referred to elements utilizing a gas or propane flame.

"Stoves," or "ranges," were described as freestanding units combining both a cooktop and an oven. The team also distinguished between "outside-venting range hoods," which expel kitchen air outdoors, and "recirculating range hoods," which filter and return air back into the kitchen. 

For measurement purposes, the term "concentration" was utilized for its accessibility, with standard conversions applied based on an assumed temperature of 25°C and atmospheric pressure.

The CONtaminant Transport Analysis Model (CONTAM) multizone indoor air quality model, developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), was pivotal in modeling indoor NO2 concentrations. The model was validated through comparisons with measured NO2 levels in various "validation residences," subsequently applying these validated models to other unmeasured residence types.

The methodology incorporated detailed measurements of NO2 concentrations using advanced analytical equipment. Emission rates from gas and propane stoves were calculated across a diverse set of residences, including both private and rented spaces, across multiple states.

The study carefully calculated NO2 and carbon dioxide (CO2) emission rates using enclosed kitchen volumes, employing a tracer gas method to adjust for air exchange in the calculations.

Finally, the validated CONTAM model was used to estimate NO2 exposure under different environmental, behavioral, and demographic conditions.

These estimates were linked with epidemiological data to assess health impacts, specifically the burden of pediatric asthma attributable to long-term NO2 exposure from gas and propane stoves. 

Study results 

The present study evaluated the accuracy of the CONTAM indoor air quality model by comparing its predicted NO2 concentrations against actual measurements taken from 18 diverse residences.

These included a mix of apartments and detached homes, ranging in size and located across various urban areas such as the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Denver, Houston, New York City, and Washington, DC.

Different scenarios were tested, including windows open or closed and outside-venting range hoods turned on or off. The results showed a strong correlation between the modeled and actual NO2 concentrations, with no significant bias detected in the model’s predictions.

In addition to validating the model, the study also examined NO2 emission factors from gas and propane stoves. Measurements indicated that NO2 emissions directly correlated with the amount of fossil fuel burned, evidenced by corresponding CO2 emissions.

Interestingly, no NO2 emissions were detected from electric or induction stoves. Propane and natural gas stoves showed similar NO2 emissions per joule of fuel burned, likely due to the similar flame temperatures of methane and propane.

Further tests in bedrooms showed that NO2 levels could exceed health-based guidelines within minutes when ovens were used without engaging range hoods.

The effectiveness of outside-venting range hoods varied, with some reducing peak NO2 concentrations significantly while others had minimal impact. On average, these hoods reduced kitchen NO2 concentrations by about 35%.

The study also modeled long-term and short-term NO2 exposures from stove use, incorporating factors such as cooking duration, frequency of range hood use, and the efficiency of these hoods.

The findings indicated that long-term and short-term NO2 exposures were significantly higher in smaller residences and households with lower incomes, highlighting socioeconomic disparities in exposure risks.

The racial and ethnic disparities were evident as well, with American Indian or Alaska Native, Hispanic or Latino, and Black households experiencing higher levels of NO2 exposure compared to White and Asian households. This was partially attributed to the smaller average residence size among the more affected groups.

Behavioral factors like the duration and intensity of stove use played a major role in determining NO2 exposure. For instance, residences with high stove use saw dramatically higher NO2 exposure in the short and long term.

The study's sensitivity analysis confirmed that total gas or propane burned was the most critical factor in predicting NO2 exposure levels, followed by ventilation practices and time spent in the kitchen.

Journal reference:
Vijay Kumar Malesu

Written by

Vijay Kumar Malesu

Vijay holds a Ph.D. in Biotechnology and possesses a deep passion for microbiology. His academic journey has allowed him to delve deeper into understanding the intricate world of microorganisms. Through his research and studies, he has gained expertise in various aspects of microbiology, which includes microbial genetics, microbial physiology, and microbial ecology. Vijay has six years of scientific research experience at renowned research institutes such as the Indian Council for Agricultural Research and KIIT University. He has worked on diverse projects in microbiology, biopolymers, and drug delivery. His contributions to these areas have provided him with a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter and the ability to tackle complex research challenges.    

Citations

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Kumar Malesu, Vijay. (2024, May 08). Health impacts and demographic inequities from nitrogen dioxide emissions in US homes using gas and propane stoves. News-Medical. Retrieved on June 13, 2024 from https://www.news-medical.net/news/20240508/Health-impacts-and-demographic-inequities-from-nitrogen-dioxide-emissions-in-US-homes-using-gas-and-propane-stoves.aspx.

  • MLA

    Kumar Malesu, Vijay. "Health impacts and demographic inequities from nitrogen dioxide emissions in US homes using gas and propane stoves". News-Medical. 13 June 2024. <https://www.news-medical.net/news/20240508/Health-impacts-and-demographic-inequities-from-nitrogen-dioxide-emissions-in-US-homes-using-gas-and-propane-stoves.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Kumar Malesu, Vijay. "Health impacts and demographic inequities from nitrogen dioxide emissions in US homes using gas and propane stoves". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/news/20240508/Health-impacts-and-demographic-inequities-from-nitrogen-dioxide-emissions-in-US-homes-using-gas-and-propane-stoves.aspx. (accessed June 13, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Kumar Malesu, Vijay. 2024. Health impacts and demographic inequities from nitrogen dioxide emissions in US homes using gas and propane stoves. News-Medical, viewed 13 June 2024, https://www.news-medical.net/news/20240508/Health-impacts-and-demographic-inequities-from-nitrogen-dioxide-emissions-in-US-homes-using-gas-and-propane-stoves.aspx.

Comments

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment
Post

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Mast cells and PGE2: Key players in controlling asthma inflammation