It’s been a confusing year for people deciding which stove to add to their homes. In Prescott, Flagstaff, Williams, Sedona and other northern Arizona communities, the Superior Propane team has talked to many homeowners worried their high-quality propane ranges will be “banned.”
Some misleading stories about gas stoves and indoor air quality have caused these rumors about confiscating appliances. These rumors are false. Early in 2023, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) asked for public input on hazards associated with gas stoves, but there’s no plan for government officials to ban them.
We understand why all this chatter has worried people about potential health risks with propane stoves. So, let’s dig into the issue and set the record straight.
In December 2022, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published a study that concluded that “12.7% of current childhood asthma nationwide is attributed to gas stove use.”
This study and others highlighted emissions of methane, particulate matter and various oxides.
Are “gas stoves” the same as propane stoves? That’s a pertinent question. A stove powered by natural gas works much differently from one fueled by propane. Here’s how propane stoves fare with the indoor emissions in question.
One significant concern of these studies is methane, which can leak from natural gas stoves. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and the main component of natural gas. But propane contains no methane. If you cook with propane, you don’t need to worry about these emissions.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) describes particulate matter as microscopic solids or liquid droplets that can be inhaled and cause serious health problems. All cooking — whether with gas, electricity or any other energy source — generates particulate matter.
Indoor air quality experts advise always using your kitchen range hood to vent particulate matter to the outside whenever you are cooking.
As stated before, studies involving “gas stoves” and air quality typically use natural gas as their subjects. This includes an oft-cited Stanford study finding “health-damaging air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides,” which “can trigger respiratory diseases.” It also includes a 2016 study at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, which found that boiling water on a natural gas stove produces nearly twice the amount of nitrogen dioxide as the EPA indoor standard. Considering that about one-third of homes in the U.S. cook with natural gas, that needs to be addressed.
Overall, the best solution for improving your kitchen’s air is ensuring good ventilation around your stove, either with a hood or by keeping windows open. In a New York Times article, Dr. Ravi Kalhan of Northwestern University suggests that an air purifier with a HEPA filter can help.
Despite many of the scare tactics employed by gas stove opponents, propane kitchen appliances are still the gold standard for home chefs. They work efficiently, generating quick heat and providing optimal temperature control. They also tend to be safer than electric options. Propane ranges cool quickly after you turn off the flame, while electric elements stay dangerously hot well after you’re done cooking. A 2020 National Fire Protection Association study found that electric ranges cause household fires at a rate 2.6 times greater than gas ranges.
Interested in adding a propane stove or another propane appliance? Reach out to Superior Propane to get started!