INDOOR AIR POLLUTION CAUSED BY COOKING AND ITS PREVENTIVE MEASURES

AIR POLLUTION

One of the toughest global challenges man has to confront every day is pollution—be it, inhaling polluted air, drinking contaminated water, or getting exposed to the harsh noise in the surroundings. However, the one type of pollution, most of us tend to ignore, is the indoor air pollution. The reason is simple—to us, our homes are a safe and secure spot. We cannot even imagine that, in spite of staying indoors, we make ourselves vulnerable to an array of air pollutants. So the question that instantly comes to our mind is—what is actually indoor air pollution? It is the degradation of the air quality within a home, building, or a commercial facility due to any change in the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of air. This change usually occurs when harmful chemicals and other materials get mixed with the indoor air. There are many factors that can cause indoor pollution. However, in this context, one household activity that significantly contributes to indoor air pollution is cooking.

How cooking contributes to indoor air pollution:

In India, the most common form of cooking is done by direct combustion of fuels, either cooking with wood or charcoal; or cooking with LPG. This generates more air pollutants than electric cooking (for instance, cooking on an induction cooktop). Combustion of gas during cooking generates some of the most toxic air pollutants in the kitchen, namely—nitrogen oxide (NO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), formaldehyde (HCHO), and particulate matter. If not managed properly, these air pollutants can become lethal and can cause health risks. Certain cooking methods are also responsible for the emission of harmful air pollutants. For example, deep frying involves heating the ingredients in large quantities of oil or fat which leads to the emission of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Stir-frying also releases particulate matter in the surroundings. Even grilling and toasting give off volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air along with particulate matter. All these air pollutants, if present above the stipulated level, are detrimental to human health.

Ill-effects of air pollutants released due to cooking:

  • Increase in the concentration levels of nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide in air aggravates respiratory problems, especially in children. Research has also shown that long-term exposure to these air pollutants can even cause cardiovascular problems, diabetes, premature mortality, and even cancer.
  • Presence of carbon monoxide in the air beyond the optimum level may cause dizziness, fatigue, headache, and disorientation. Extremely high concentration of carbon monoxide can cause CO poisoning which may even lead to death.
  • When the amount of formaldehyde in air crosses the permissible limit, it causes nausea, skin irritation, burning sensation in the eyes, nose, and throat, wheezing, and watery eyes.
  • Particulate matters also exacerbate respiratory problems.
  • Health effects of volatile organic compounds include irritation in eyes, nose, and throat, headache, nausea, damage to liver as well as the central nervous system.

Ways to prevent indoor air pollution caused by cooking:

Indoor air pollution in our kitchens can be reduced if we modernize our kitchen with suitable appliances. The main aim is to have a well-ventilated kitchen and to ensure that ventilation systems such as chimneys and exhaust fans need to be installed. Companies like Propello have come up with some of the best kitchen chimney with dry auto clean technology. These kitchen chimneys are sleek, stylish, and ultra-modern and are equipped with a number of features. Propello offers kitchen chimneys that are easy to operate as they require minimal maintenance and are provided with 24-hour customer care support.

Having a chimney in your kitchen will not only keep your cooking space clean and oil-free but also suck out the emissions caused due to cooking. This will ensure a clean and safe kitchen. Apart from this, there are some other things we should keep in mind, in order to make our kitchen safer. For instance, it is important to keep the windows of the kitchen open to allow cross-ventilation. Also, the gas stove/hob must be checked once in a year for any gas leaks. Overheating of food should be avoided and it is also important to keep the stove burners free from food debris.

We all know how important cooking is for us. It is almost a daily ritual for every household because it helps to bond with our loved ones and to provide for our family members. But we should also be aware of the fact that how cooking can degrade the indoor air quality. It is extremely important to install an auto clean kitchen chimney so that the kitchen remains free from pollution. So what are you waiting for? Get an auto clean kitchen chimney for your kitchen immediately and keep cooking to your heart’s content!!

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