About one-third of U.S. residents are “cooking with gas.”” Natural gas stoves are common, but research shows that they can pose health risks.

Brady Seals is with the Rocky Mountain Institute, an environmental think tank. She says natural gas stoves can produce toxic indoor air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, which can harm people’s lungs, and carbon monoxide.

“Many of these same pollutants that we find from our car tailpipes are also emitted from our stove when we’re cooking,” Seals says.

She says the federal government does not regulate indoor air quality. But when people use gas burners and ovens simultaneously, the indoor air pollution can rise to levels that would violate outdoor air standards. People with smaller homes and older appliances are the most at risk.

So Seals recommends using electric stoves instead.

“When you switch to electric, you can eliminate some of this potpourri of pollutants that comes while cooking,” she says.

In many parts of the country, electricity is produced using fossil fuels. But Seals says that as utilities transition to more wind and solar, electric stoves will increasingly run on clean, renewable energy, so cooking with electric will be healthier for people and the climate.

Reporting credit: Stephanie Manuzak/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Diana Madson contributed regularly to Yale Climate Connections from 2014 to 2021. She enjoys exploring U.S.-based stories about unexpected and innovative solutions to climate change. In addition to her...