Yikes!

By Meghan Overdeep
Updated February 21, 2019
George Marks/Getty Images

Uh oh. You may want to crack a window the next time you turn on the stove.

According to new research out of the University of Colorado Boulder, cooking, cleaning, and other everyday activities can generate levels of pollution in the average home rivaling that of heavily polluted cities.

“Homes have never been considered an important source of outdoor air pollution and the moment is right to start exploring that,” Marina Vance, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at CU Boulder, said in a release. “We wanted to know: How do basic activities like cooking and cleaning change the chemistry of a house?”

To find out, Vance and her colleagues used advanced sensors and cameras to monitor the indoor air quality of a 1,200-square-foot manufactured home on the University of Texas Austin campus. Over the course of a month, they conducted a variety of daily household activities—including cooking a full Thanksgiving dinner in the middle of the Texas summer.

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While the full results are still pending, what they found is that everything from boiling water to making toast raises pollution levels inside the home to the point of possible negative health impacts.

Until more is known, Vance said “it’s apparent that homes need to be well ventilated while cooking and cleaning.”

You heard the lady, open those windows!