‘Pie hole’, colloquial for one’s mouth, is believed to have evolved in the USA in the 1980s from the British expression ‘cake hole’ (coined in the mid 20th century). Pie hole refers to a mouth, as in: Shut your pie hole or, in this case: Put less in your pie hole.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Breathe Easy: Even When You Have Gas

Home cooking, it’s healthier and cheaper than eating out: it’s creative, it’s a great way to play with your food… Yes, I’m a big advocate and fan of cooking. I recently heard an piece on NPR (where news matters) about stoves and worrisome pollutant concentrations. Of course this warranted further exploration. So join me as we clear the air on this topic.

In the US, 34% of homes have gas burners. It turns out, these are notorious for emitting pollutants like nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and formaldehyde. That’s right, cooking with gas can be silent, but deadly.

Nitrogen dioxide, in specific, is associated with adverse health effects. For instance, it exacerbates asthma, wheezing and decreases respiratory function. This is particularly of note when indoor concentrations are high. No, not that kind of “high”.

Estimates from recent research show weekly average pollutant levels in homes with gas burners exceed ambient air quality standards. Both carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide levels were exceeded by 7-8% and 55-70% respectively. That’s anything but a whiff of fresh air.

I’m sure most of you have figured out the solution… No? Here’s a (very corny) hint: If you’re a fan of cooking, like myself… Ok that’s just too lame. The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind… Ever so slightly less lame… Turn on that exhaust above your stove! Exhaust fans: they’re not just for toilets. Turns out they actually help eliminate those nasty pollutants and ensure you and your cohabitators breathe easy.

Top tips (as if you need them):
  • Cook at home: Your waist and your wallet will thank you
  • Turn on the exhaust fan when you turn on the stove: Your lungs will appreciate that
  • Drown out the fan by turning up your favourite music or radio station (yep, mine’s either NPR or some quality motown)

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