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Residential codes should be upgraded to protect from cooking pollutants

Report examines ventilation standards, calls for increased public awareness of issue.

May 11, 2021 |

Courtesy Pixabay

Building codes should be updated to protect residents from the harmful health impacts of indoor cooking, according to a new report from the Environmental Law Institute (ELI).

Reducing Exposure to Cooking Pollutants: Policies and Practices to Improve Air Quality in Homes provides policymakers with information to help people in their communities protect themselves from being exposed to particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, and other harmful pollutants inside their homes.

“Any type of cooking—from boiling water to frying food—will generate some amount of cooking pollution,” said ELI Staff Attorney Amy Reed, in a news release. “Fortunately, proper ventilation practices, which can remove those harmful cooking pollutants, are well established and readily available.”

Updated building codes should mandate kitchen ventilation in all new residential construction. Jurisdictions should establish minimum ventilation performance standards to ensure that exhaust systems can remove a sufficient share of the pollutants emitted during cooking immediately after they are emitted.

ELI also says policymakers should increase public awareness of both the health risks from cooking pollutants and the solutions that are available.

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