Today’s Solutions: January 27, 2022

A third of Americans cook with natural gas in their homes and many, especially kitchen-savvy chefs, seek out these appliances over electric versions, but the health and environmental effects of gas raise the question: Why are we still using these cooktops?

First and foremost, natural gas has severe indoor air pollution drawbacks. Cooking on gas releases some of the same pollutants as car exhaust and while significantly better than cooking over a wood fire, natural gas and propane release nitrogen dioxide which can lead to asthma or other respiratory issues. Homes with natural gas have nitrogen dioxide concentrations of 50 to 400 percent higher than all-electric homes. The effects of this pollution are especially detrimental in homes with poor ventilation. 

On the environmental side of the argument, yes, natural gas is cleaner than oil or coal, but it is still a powerful greenhouse gas. Gas stoves also consume more energy than electric versions and although your stovetop is not necessarily a gas guzzler, infrastructure for gas stoves supports the use of gas furnaces and water heaters which consume and burn large amounts of it. 

Although some gas advocates argue that proper ventilation negates the pollution associated with gas, the high cost of ventilation systems leaves low-income communities with higher pollution risks. 

Fortunately, advanced electric cooking technology, like induction stoves, has advanced the sensitivity of these stoves and made cooking with them feasible, even for professional chefs. Chef Nguyen Tran went all-electric in his Los Angeles restaurant and tells The Atlantic that he is confident that with a bit of practice, all chefs can learn to cook just as proficiently on induction technology. 

Although many may be convinced to adopt electric stoves, facilitating this transition will require some effort. Heather Price, an atmospheric chemist at North Seattle College, argues that governments should introduce rebates for gas trade-ins, particularly for low-income families. She also applauds countries, like Canada, for the establishment of indoor air-quality benchmarks. In 2015, Canada set their long-term exposure limits to nitrogen dioxide to 11 parts per billion. Other solutions include banning natural gas in new construction, which cities like Ojai and San Francisco have done. 

If you do cook on a gas stove, you can take safety precautions such as turning on ventilation at all times when cooking and opening up windows for airflow if you don’t have a ventilation system in your home. 

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Cooling bamboo system is a green alternative to air conditioning

The number of sweltering days affecting people each year in Vietnam has grown significantly in recent years as a result of climate change. Using air conditioning may help reduce people’s exposure to life-threatening hot temperatures, ... Read More

Weird species of worm named after Godzilla’s enemy

We love sharing the uncovering of the vast biodiversity of our world with our readers. In 2020 alone, 503 new animal species were discovered. From the Popa langur monkey, to nine new snake species and ... Read More

Gene-therapy could treat leading cause of blindness

Throughout the past decade, it seems like science is getting closer to the reality of gene therapy. Here at The Optimist Daily, we’ve reported on a number of potential uses for the practice, including; curing ... Read More

Could electric rail vehicles be the future of freight?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, medium- and heavy-duty trucks are responsible for 24 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions spewed by the transportation industry in the US. A team of former SpaceX engineers ... Read More

Levitating ice leads to deeper understanding of energy

Believe it or not, scientists have been levitating water since the 18th century. The Leidenfrost effect was first described in 1751 by a German doctor and theologian, who named the phenomenon after himself. Using a ... Read More

Goldie the porcupine pufferfish is thriving after emergency dental work

Did you know that porcupine pufferfish teeth, which are known as beaks, never stop growing throughout the fish’s life? “They’re usually kept short naturally, as they’re worn down on their regular diet of hard-shelled foods,” ... Read More