Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Kitchen pollution 'higher than government air quality guidelines'

Pollution levels in some kitchens could be three times higher than outdoors in a busy city centre, a study has found.

Researchers at the University of Sheffield compared a rural house which had been split into two flats and used electric cookers, to two city centre apartments using gas appliances.

Pollution levels found in the kitchens using gas were higher than government guidelines for outdoor air quality.

The university said people insulating their homes was a contributory factor.

Professor Vida Sherifi, who led the research, said the two flats in the city centre which used gas had released high levels of harmful nitrogen dioxide.

At one of the flats with a gas cooker nitrogen dioxide levels were three times higher in the kitchen than the concentrations measured outside the property.

Health impact

No guidelines are currently set for safe indoor pollution levels.

Prof Sherifi said: "Concerns about air quality tend to focus on what we breathe in outdoors, but as we spend most of our time indoors, we need to understand more about air pollution in our homes.

"We spend 90% of our time indoors and work hard to make our homes warm, secure and comfortable, but we rarely think about the pollution we might be breathing in."

The research focused on pollutants known to harm health, particularly of the elderly and people with respiratory or cardiovascular problems.

Pollutants included carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, volatile organic compounds and solid particles small enough to penetrate the lungs.

The university said more research was needed to establish the long-term effects of indoor air quality and emission rates from appliances.

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