A Simple Breakfast A Cause For Air Pollution

According to research by the University of Colorado Boulder, Making a simple breakfast toast could contribute to a high level of indoor air pollution. Basic household tasks like boiling water or cooking your dinner or cleaning can leave your home as polluted as a major city. Homes have never been considered an important source of outdoor air pollution and the moment is right to start exploring that.

Even the simple act of making toast raised particle levels far higher than expected. For the study, advanced sensors and cameras to monitor the indoor air quality of a 1,200 square feet manufactured home. Over the course of a month, the team carried out a variety of daily household activities, including cooking a full Thanksgiving dinner. During the experiment, the measured indoor concentrations were high enough that their sensitive instruments needed to be recalibrated almost immediately. Vance said it is apparent that homes need to be well ventilated while cooking and cleaning, because even basic tasks like boiling water over a stove top flame can contribute to high levels of gaseous air pollutants and suspended particulates, with negative health impacts.

While many traditional sources like fossil fuel-burning vehicles have become much cleaner than they used to be, and ozone and fine particulates are monitored by the US Environmental Protection Agency, but data for airborne toxins like f alcohol and ketones that originate from the home are very sparse. We need to re-focus research efforts on these sources and give them the same attention we have given to fossil fuels. The picture that we have in our heads about the atmosphere should now include a house.