Is cooking a source of air pollution in your home?

(NC) As winter sets in, our minds turn to thoughts of comfort foods and home-cooked meals. But did you know that cooking is one of the largest sources of air pollution in your home?

Regardless of your ability to create a delicious meal, cooking can affect indoor air quality and have an impact on your health.

Whether you cook on a gas or electric stove, cooking creates small particles from heating oil, fat and other food ingredients, especially at high temperatures.

In addition to particles, gas burners produce carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and formaldehyde. Meanwhile, electric burners release a lot of ultrafine particles in the air.

Exposure to these particles and pollutants can cause or worsen a wide range of health problems such as eye, nose or throat irritation, headaches, fatigue, wheezing and coughing. Young children and people with asthma, other respiratory issues and heart or lung diseases are especially vulnerable.

To reduce health risks, be sure to use the range hood exhaust fan while cooking and follow these tips:

  • Always turn the exhaust fan on when using any stove burner.
  • Use the highest setting on your exhaust fan, especially when cooking something that can produce smoke or odours, such as frying, sautéing or grilling.
  • Cook on back burners if possible, because the range hood exhausts this area more effectively.
  • Make sure your range hood exhaust fan vents to the outdoors.

If you don’t have a range hood exhaust fan, you may want to consider installing one or improving the air quality of your home in other ways, such as opening windows, running a central heating or cooling fan, or running a portable air cleaner while cooking.

Find more information on keeping a healthy home at

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