Your kitchen could be more polluted than the city centre, according to new research from the University of Sheffield.
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Modern kitchens that are small and carefully insulated to be more energy-efficient could be magnifying the toxic potential of common household chemicals, as well as gas and cooking fumes.
Researchers compared the air quality of samples taken both indoors and outdoors at various locations around Sheffield. It looked at three homes – one with an electric cooker in a village near Sheffield and two with gas cookers in the city, one next to a busy road and one in the city centre.
The village house was found to have the lowest level of toxic chemicals, while the city centre flat had far higher levels of both carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide – both higher than those recorded outside the properties.
The readings were also above the recommended safe levels and in both the city flats, they exceeded the guidelines for outdoor air quality.
"We spend 90 per cent 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,” said Professor Vida Sharifi, who led the research.
"Although ours was just a small study, it highlights the need for more research to determine the impact of changing housing and lifestyles on our indoor air quality."