New Delhi: Indoor levels of the highly flammable, carcinogenic benzene rise above those in secondhand tobacco smoke upon lighting a gas stove, common in residential living, a new Stanford-led analysis has found. Benzene also drifts throughout a home and lingers for hours in home air, scientists involved said in the study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. Senior author Rob Jackson, professor of Earth system science at the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability, US said,
Benzene forms in flames and other high-temperature environments, such as the flares found in oil fields and refineries. We now know that benzene also forms in the flames of gas stoves in our homes
Mr. Jackson said,
Good ventilation helps reduce pollutant concentrations, but we found that exhaust fans were often ineffective at eliminating benzene exposure
The researchers found that indoor concentrations of benzene formed in the flames of gas stoves can be worse than average concentrations from secondhand smoke, that benzene can migrate into other rooms far from the kitchen, and that concentrations measured in bedrooms can exceed national and international health benchmarks.
They also found residential range hoods are not always effective at reducing concentrations of benzene and other pollutants, even when the hoods vent outdoors.
The researchers found gas and propane burners and ovens emitted 10 to 50 times more benzene than electric stoves, whereas induction cooktops emitted no detectable benzene whatsoever.
Further, the rates of benzene emitted during combustion were found to be hundreds of times higher than benzene emission rates identified in other recent studies from unburned gas leaking into homes.
The study said that it was the first to analyse benzene emissions when a stove or oven was in use, as opposed to previous studies, which focused on leaks from stoves when they were off and did not directly measure resulting benzene concentrations.
The researchers also tested whether foods being cooked emitted benzene and found zero benzene emissions from pan-frying salmon or bacon. All benzene emissions the investigators measured came from the fuel used rather than any food cooked.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – theLGBTQ population,indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the currentCOVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water,SanitationandHygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fightmalnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health,adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues likeair pollution,waste management,plastic ban,manual scavengingand sanitation workers andmenstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India wheretoiletsare used andopen defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched byPrime Minister Narendra Modiin 2014, can eradicate diseases like diarrhoea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.