Refrigerators and Freezers

There are many styles of refrigeration units available. Self-defrosting models have a drip pan located somewhere under the unit. Some units have drip pans located in the back or mounted internally, where they are inacces­sible. When purchasing a unit, make sure the drip pan is easily accessible from the front and has adequate clearance underneath for easy cleaning. The pan should be cleaned monthly to prevent odors or the growth of microorgan­isms. It is also important to keep the cooling coils clean of dust. Not only will this improve your air quality but it also will save energy be­cause the unit will not have to work as hard to stay cold.

Cook Tops, Ovens, and Ranges

All electric cook tops, ovens, and ranges produce elevated magnetic fields. Surpris­ingly, it is frequently the built-in electric clock that is the largest source, regardless of whether the equipment is gas or electric. Use a gauss — meter to determine the distance of the field.

The act of cooking generates significant amounts of indoor air pollution through va­pors and airborne particulate matter such as grease. In addition, food particles left on burn­ers are incinerated and release combustion by­products.

Gas-fueled appliances are a significant source of indoor air pollution as they can re­lease carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, ni­trogen dioxide, nitrous oxides, and aldehydes into the air. In Why Your House May Endan­ger Your Health, Alfred Zamm describes how gas kitchen ranges have been the hidden cul­prit in many cases of “housewives’ malaise.” According to Zamm, “A gas oven operating at 350°F for one hour, because of the inevita­ble incomplete combustion, can cause kitchen air pollution, even with an exhaust fan in op­eration, comparable to a heavy Los Angeles smog. Without the fan, levels of carbon mon­oxide and nitrogen dioxide can zoom to three or more times that.”4

For chemically sensitive individuals, any combustion appliance may be undesirable and we recommend choosing electric over gas for a range/oven. Many cooks, however, pre­fer to cook with gas because it allows for better timing and temperature control. Ifyou choose a gas range, the following measures will help reduce the amount of pollution:

• Have flames adjusted to burn correctly. They should burn blue. A yellow flame in­dicates incomplete combustion and the subsequent production of carbon mon­oxide.

• Choose an appliance with electronic ig­nition instead of a pilot light. Any model built in the US after 1991 will be equipped with electronic ignition.

• Follow the guidelines for proper ventila­tion discussed below.

If your preference is to cook with gas, consider purchasing a gas-fired cook top with an elec­tric oven, since it is not necessary or even de­sirable from a chef’s standpoint for the oven to be a combustion appliance.

Various smooth cook top surfaces are available, including magnetic induction and halogen units. Because they are much easier to dean than coiled elements, they produce less pollution from the burning of trapped food particles. These units should be tested with a gaussmeter to determine the extent of their magnetic fields while in operation.

Oven cleaning is another source of pollu­tion generated in the kitchen. Continuous — cleaning ovens contain wall coatings that con­tinuously outgas noxious fumes. Self-cleaning ovens produce polynuclear aromatic hydro­carbons, which are a source of air pollution. Most brand-name oven cleaners are toxic. The safest way to clean an oven is with baking soda and elbow grease. Ifbaking soda is poured over the spill shortly after it occurs, the spill can be easily cleaned up after the oven has cooled.

Kitchen Ventilation

Because the kitchen generates significant in­door pollution and moisture, the ventilation of this room should be given special consid­eration above and beyond general home ven­tilation. Range hoods must be vented to the outside. There are models available that sim­ply circulate the air through a carbon filter and

Refrigerators and Freezers

A central vacuum system is convenient and dust free. Photo: Paula Baker-Laporte.

back into the room. These do not remove cook­ing pollution sufficiently, but unfortunately many kitchens come equipped with them be­cause they are inexpensive and do not require a roof penetration.

We recommend the largest range hood available, with variable speed control so that you can adjust speed according to your re­quirements. Some models come equipped with remote fans, which are quieter. When ventilation fans are in operation, especially at higher speeds, it is important that make-up air be supplied. If a home is not equipped with a whole-house supply system, you should open a window to supply make-up air. If a clean source of air intake is not provided by design, the exhausting of air can create enough nega­tive pressure that air will then be sucked into the house through the path of least resistance.

This path could be through a chimney flue for a furnace or water heater, causing dangerous backdrafting of air many times more polluted than that being replaced.

Updated: 22 ноября, 2015 — 2:40 пп