Benzene, Gas Stoves, and Your Health
Benzene, or C6H6, is a highly flammable toxic chemical used to make plastics, pesticides, and other chemical compounds. It can be found in gasoline, crude oil, and cigarette smoke. Exposure to benzene, especially over the long term, is linked to a higher risk of cancer, particularly leukemia and other blood cancers. There is no safe level of benzene exposure.
Over the past year, scientists have tested gas stoves for benzene around the country and found that whether they’re on or off, gas stoves were a source of benzene pollution in the home, sometimes creating benzene levels comparable to secondhand smoke.
For example, researchers tested stoves from 69 homes in the Greater Boston area and found benzene, along with 20 other hazardous air pollutants, were present in the gas used in residential stoves. Researchers also tested gas stoves all across California and found that even low-level gas leaks from kitchen stoves generated benzene concentrations inside that were up to seven times California’s recommended exposure limit.