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Test kitchen reveals hazardous indoor pollutants from cooking

Narrator:       This is Science Today. Making sure that we have comfortable, energy-efficient homes with great indoor air quality is one of the goals of the Environmental Energy Technologies division at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Singer:           So, cooking is a great example of one of those things that we all do, that we don't think much about. But it turns out that when you cook, you actually produce a lot of chemicals, some of which are pollutants that can mix into the air of your house.

Narrator:       Scientist Brett Singer and his colleagues recently set up a test kitchen at the lab.

Singer:           When you cook, you could actually release pollutants in your home that can reach levels that the EPA says are not safe outdoors and that can be pollutants from both the gas burners and also from the cooking activity itself. Gas burners can produce carbon monoxide; nitrogen dioxide, which is a respiratory irritant; ultra-fine particles; formaldehyde, which is a carcinogen and also an irritant. The electric burners can also produce ultra-fine particles and the cooking itself produces a whole array of chemicals and particles that when they reach high levels, can be hazardous to your health.

Narrator:       Cooks, don't despair. Singer says if you have a range hood, make sure to use it and do most of your cooking on the back burners. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.