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Researchers in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health have released a report focused on the impacts of residential natural gas appliances on indoor and outdoor air quality and human health, and potential benefits of widespread residential electrification.
“California’s state agencies often focus on greenhouse gas emissions for building electrification, but there has been much less focus on how fossil fuel use in household appliances can adversely impact indoor air quality and public health,” said UCLA Fielding School of Public Health Professor Yifang Zhu, the lead researcher. “The goal of this report is to provide information to Californians on how pollution from gas-fired appliances affects the air they breathe, and the related health effects.”
The indoor air quality analysis found that concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) during cooking events can exceed the levels set by national and California-based ambient air quality standards. Under a cooking scenario where the stove and oven are used simultaneously for an hour, acute exposures to NO2 from cooking with gas appliances exceed these levels in more than 90% of modeled emission scenarios.
Regarding outdoor air quality, this report indicates that under a scenario where all residential gas appliances were transitioned to clean-energy electric appliances, the reduction of secondary nitrate fine particulate matter (PM2.5) [from nitrogen oxides (NOX)] and primary PM2.5 would result in 354 fewer deaths, and 596 and 304 fewer cases of acute and chronic bronchitis each year, respectively. The reduction in associated negative health effects is equivalent to approximately $3.5 billion in monetized health benefits for just one year.
This report contributes to a growing body of research quantifying the air quality and health impacts from the use of gas appliances in households, and highlights several potential benefits, both health-related and economic, of residential electrification throughout the state of California.