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Thanksgiving Edition | Cooking a Turkey with Indoor Air Quality in Mind

November 26, 2014

Traditionally, thanksgiving involves cooking stuffed turkeys along with a plethora of hot side dishes and fancy desserts. One important factor to consider while working hard in the kitchen is the impact the gases, heat, smoke and ventilation can have on the home’s air quality and one’s health.

What Are Cooking Pollutants?

We don’t think of cooking as something that involves chemicals but if you think about it all those yummy cooking smells are caused by chemicals in the air!  Most of these chemicals are not particularly hazardous but they can affect the air quality.  Some cooking activities can produce additional chemicals or problems such as hydrocarbons and particulates from burnt food, formaldehyde and other combustion gases from gas stoves,  and oil particulates from frying oils/cooking sprays that get into the air and on surfaces in the immediate vicinity.  Increased heat in the kitchen can cause additional off gassing from products such as the kitchen counter tops, cabinets, and new cookware.

Make sure your house and your cooking are safe by carefully ensuring the following:

1.  Ventilation – Increase ventilation during cooking by using stove fans and windows.  Ventilation will help to reduce the amount of chemicals in the air while cooking as well as reduce moisture build up.

2.  Cooking sprays/oils – Propellants used in cooking sprays can add to the amount of VOC’s in the air – limit your use of these as much as possible.

3.  Clean up – Burnt food should be cleaned up as soon as possible.  Remember to open a window and/or run the furnace fan when using cleaning supplies in preparation of visitors and afterward.  The use of mild cleaning supplies will help to reduce the amount of harsh chemicals in the air.

4.  Moisture Control – Boiling and steam can increase condensation in the home.  Be sure to monitor & dry up any excess moisture following cooking.

Enjoy your holiday time with family and friends to the fullest by ensuring the best possible air quality as well as delicious food.  Check the impact your kitchen activities have on your air quality by collecting an air sample before and during cooking and comparing the results!