Be Mindful of Air Pollution from Gas Stoves on Thanksgiving

During the Thanksgiving holiday, Americans eat turkey, take naps, and watch sports. They probably aren’t thinking about how much they use their kitchen stove to cook a holiday meal – but they should.

If you’re one of the over 79% of Illinoisans who cook with gas, you should know that it’s the biggest source of air pollution inside your home. The dangerous fumes it emits will build up inside the home over the course of the day. In fact, Thanksgiving might be the worst home indoor air quality day.

Burning gas creates deadly fine particulate matter, a pollutant the EPA says is more dangerous than they previously thought based on peer-reviewed scientific research published over the last several years. Using cooking gas also creates nitrogen dioxide gas as a byproduct of combustion, and it’s a powerful lung irritant and asthma trigger. One study published in 2022 found gas stoves might explain over 20% of asthma cases in Illinois.

So, if you’re the one cooking for the crowd this year, what can you do to protect yourself and all those house guests?

  • Use the vent fan. If the hood vent fan over your stove sucks the fumes and exhausts them outside your home whenever the stove is on, use it while you are cooking. It won’t get rid of all the pollution, but it will definitely reduce the pollution you breathe.
  • Open a window. Many vent hoods just capture grease and circulate air back into the kitchen. Those won’t do anything at all to reduce the dangerous gases and microscopic particles coming out of your stove. In that case, open a window to let some fresh air in and allow the indoor pollution to escape.

All of the other home gas appliances, such as the furnace, water heater, and dryer, are all vented to the outside for a reason.

In the longer term, you might want to explore options for replacing your gas stove. Soon states will be offering large rebates to help people replace gas appliances with safer, cleaner, and more efficient electric alternatives. Those programs will include rebates of up to $840 for a cool-to-the-touch electric induction stove or cooktop. Additional rebates are available for needed electrical work if you don’t have an outlet for an electric stove. Utilities like ComEd currently offer a $100 rebate for an electric induction stove.

Whichever ways you choose to celebrate, we hope you have a safe and healthy holiday!