New research shows that the natural gas that illuminates gas stoves, which is popular with both home and professional cooks, contains low levels of some cancer-related pollutants and chemicals. ..
This study by Harvard TH Chan Public Health School was published this week Journal Environmental Science & TechnologyIs the latest in a growing series of studies related to both the supply and use of natural gas.
For possible consequences of public health and climate change.
Before studyfrom Stanford UniversityU.S. household emissions from gas stoves suggest the same climate warming impact as 500,000 petrol cars
In addition to carbon dioxide, this includes faster and more powerful methane. According to the Energy Information Agency, burning fossil fuels for energy accounts for about 74% of the total greenhouse gas emissions of the United States, which warms the planet.
The results of such findings may contribute to the slow change between several cities and states to ban the connection of new natural gas in the construction of homes and apartments. Most old stoves are exempt from.
The impact is significant. More than one-third of US households (more than 40 million) cook with gas.
“The gas stove leaks dangerous methane into the house even when the stove isn’t on,” said Bloc Power, CEO of Bloc Power, a climate technology company that primarily works on electrical modifications and adds sunlight to buildings. Co-founder Donnel Baird said.
Unlike other gas appliances, such as water heaters, which are usually located away from the active living space, cookware exposes people directly to emissions. These emissions include formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and nitric oxide, which can cause asthma, coughing, wheezing, and dyspnea.
And now, Harvard research has examined smaller traces of chemicals and revealed higher emissions.
Over a 16-month period, researchers collected 234 unburned natural gas samples from 69 homes in the Boston metropolitan area and received natural gas from three suppliers. They have discovered several “air poisons” that are classified by the Environmental Protection Agency for dangerous pollutants, including benzene.
“21 of them [air toxics] It is considered a dangerous air pollutant for the EPA because it is harmful enough to human health, “said Dr. Curtis Nordgard, who participated in a Harvard study. I told CBS affiliate WBZ-TV in Boston.. “Benzene is known as a carcinogen, which causes leukemia,” he said.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, short-term exposure to high levels of colorless, odorless benzene can cause drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, and eye and skin irritation. According to the CDC, long-term exposure has a small effect and may increase the risk of blood disorders and certain cancers.
Is it too small to be a problem?
Pipeline operators and natural gas suppliers generally test gas composition along production processes, including power plants, in accordance with the North American Energy Standards Board. However, to date, these tests are limited to approximately 16 of the most abundant components of natural gas. For example, benzene, which the author of the study emphasized, is excluded.
The Harvard team said they are focusing on detecting more potentially dangerous gas constituents at the time of maximum exposure to the human body. They added that further research on the impact on public health is needed.
Some public health authorities I pointed out immediately It is not clear whether only a few traces of these chemicals are particularly dangerous, especially in the case of ventilation. Benzene is already found in plastics, resins and other materials.
In American kitchens, food use and ventilation help reduce the concentration of pollutants in the air, but studies show that home cooks use pollutants only 25% to 40% of the time on average. Is not … The tallest emitter was a cooktop that was ignited using a pilot light instead of the built-in electronic sparkler.
Cities take action
New York City Created a law banning the burning of fossil fuels, or gases, for cooking and heating In the new building of your choice. This ban will apply to new buildings of 7 stories or less from 2024 and to larger buildings in 2027. This measure is important not only for the size of the city’s population, but also for the cold climate. The state was considering its own bill, but that effort ceased in budget negotiations this spring.
Not just in New York. Berkeley, California became the first city in the United States to ban gas connections in its new construction in 2019.And now at least 42 cities In California, including San Francisco and San Jose, we acted to limit gas in new buildings. Salt Lake City and Denver have also planned to move towards electrification.And in particular, Ithaca, NY has taken a step forward. Remodel all buildingsNot only new construction, but also heating pumps and microwave ovens via gas. Meanwhile, about 20 Republican-led states have passed legislation banning cities and counties from blocking gas connections.
Proponents of keeping fossil fuels in the US energy mix, even those who want to increase their share of renewables, the sharp rise in electricity usage puts a strain on the US power grid, which has already revealed its weaknesses. It says to call.They emphasize that natural gas is a low-cost alternative to more polluted coal. May play a role in energy conversion..
The gas industry believes that housing bans do not address the right issue and should instead focus on the development of renewable natural gas.
The focus of the family is “not really a climate solution,” said Daniel Lapat, senior director of state affairs at the American Gas Association, an advocate for the natural gas industry. Talk to a non-profit Pew.. “When you start eliminating these options, you have to look at the cost impact on homeowners.”
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