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Indoor cooking can produce hazardous pollutants

Narrator:       This is Science Today. Cooking at home using a gas stove can produce hazardous levels of nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide — and the range hoods that should mitigate these indoor air pollutants vary widely in performance. Those were the findings of a study conducted by scientist Bret Singer and a team of researchers who set up a test kitchen at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  

Singer:           We do these experiments in the laboratory to understand how effective the range hoods are. We use a term called capture efficiency, which describes how much of the pollutants that are being formed down at the cooktop get removed outdoors and by doing these experiments, we're trying to set up a test method that we can use to rate range hoods. Ultimately, that will help consumers have the information they need to pick the right products so that they can keep their home safe.

Narrator:       Singer adds that electric burners can also produce ultra-fine particles that, if reached at high levels, can be hazardous to your health.

Singer:           So, in the meantime, what can you do? First, try as best you can to figure out if your range hood actually exhausts or vents to the outdoors; once you have a vented hood, use it; and third thing is to cook on the back burners.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.