Yannai Kashtan: Gas and propane combustion from stoves emits benzene and increases indoor air pollution
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Exposure pathways to benzene are well established from tobacco smoke, oil and gas development, refining, gasoline pumping, and gasoline and diesel combustion. Combustion has also been linked to the formation of nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and formaldehyde indoors from gas stoves. To our knowledge, however, no research has quantified the formation of benzene indoors from gas combustion by stoves. Across 87 homes in California and Colorado, natural gas and propane combustion emitted detectable and repeatable levels of benzene that in some homes raised indoor benzene levels above well-established health benchmarks. Mean benzene emissions from gas and propane burners on high and ovens set to 350 ºF ranged from 2.8 to 6.5 μg min−1, 10 to 25 times higher than emissions from electric coil and radiant alternatives; neither induction stoves nor the food being cooked emitted detectable benzene. Benzene produced by gas and propane stoves also migrated throughout homes, in some cases elevating bedroom benzene concentrations above chronic health benchmarks. Combustion of gas and propane from stoves can be a substantial benzene exposure pathway and can reduce indoor air quality.
Yannai Kashtan is a PhD candidate in Earth System Science at the Doerr School of Sustainability, where he studies health-related hazards of residential fossil-fueled appliances. His most recent project involved measuring emissions from gas and propane stoves and resulting indoor air quality using mobile cavity ring-down analyzers. He earned a Masters in chemistry from Stanford University and a BA from Pomona College, where he majored in physics and chemistry and researched organic semiconductors.