Pollutant Concentrations and Emission Rates from Scripted Natural Gas Cooking Burner Use in Nine Northern California Homes:
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Pollutant Concentrations and Emission Rates from Scripted Natural Gas Cooking Burner Use in Nine Northern California Homes:


METHODS: Combustion pollutant concentrations were measured during the scripted operation of natural gas cooking burners in nine homes. In addition to a base condition of closed windows, no forced air unit (FAU) use, and no mechanical exhaust, additional experiments were conducted while operating an FAU and/or vented range hood. Test homes included a 26m2 two-room apartment, a 134m2 first floor flat, and seven detached homes of 117–226m2. There were four single-story, four two-story and one 1.5 story homes. Cooktop use entailed boiling and simmering activities, using water as a heat sink. Oven and broiler use also were simulated. Time-resolved concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), nitric oxide (NO), nitrogen oxides (NOX), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particles with diameters of 6 nm or larger (PN), carbon monoxide (CO), and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) were measured in the kitchen (K) and bedroom area (BR) of each home. CO2, NO, NO2, and PN data from sequential experiments were analyzed to quantify the contribution of burner use to the highest 1h and 4h time-integrated concentrations in each room. RESULTS: Four of the nine homes had kitchen 1h NO2 exceed the national ambient air quality standard (100 ppb). Two other homes had 1h NO2 exceed 50 ppb in the kitchen, and three had 1h NO2 above 50 ppb in the bedroom, suggesting substantial exposures to anyone at home when burners are used for a single substantial event. In all homes, the highest 1h kitchen PN exceeded 2 x105 cm-3-h, and the highest 4h PN exceeded 3 x105 cm-3-hr in all homes. The lowest 1h kitchen/bedroom ratios were 1.3–2.1 for NO in the apartment and two open floor plan homes. The largest K/BR ratios of 1h NO2 were in a two-story 1990s home retrofitted for deep energy savings: ratios in this home were 3.3 to 6.6. Kitchen 1h ratios of NO, NO2 and PN to CO2 were used to calculate fuel normalized emission factors (ng J-1). Range hood use substantially reduced cooking burner pollutant concentrations both in the kitchen and bedroom of several homes. A hood with large capture volume and a measured flow of 108 L/s reduced concentrations 80-95%. IMPLICATIONS: These measurements demonstrate that operation of natural gas cooking burners without venting can cause short-term kitchen concentrations of NO2 to exceed the US outdoor health standard, and can elevate concentrations of NO, NO2, and ultrafine particles throughout the home. Results are generally consistent with a recent simulation study that estimated widespread 1h NO2 exposures exceeding 100 ppb in homes that use gas burners without venting. While operating a venting range hood can greatly reduce pollutant levels from burner use (and presumably from cooking as well), performance varies widely across hoods. Increased awareness of the need to ventilate when cooking would substantially reduce in-home exposure to NO2 and ultrafine particles in California homes. Helping consumers select effective hoods, for example by publishing capture efficiency performance ratings, also would help reduce exposure.

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