Natural gas, which is considered the cleanest form of fuel, may not be as clean as it is believed, for a new study has shown that it emits ultra fine airborne particulate matter when burned in home appliances such as stove tops and water heaters.
Previous studies have shown that exposure to these organic emissions can increase mortality risk due to deposition in the lungs, brain, and circulatory system.
During the study, the Italian researchers used advanced optical diagnostic tools, particle collection methods, and particle size assessment to identify particulate matter with diameters in the range of 1 nm to 10 nm.
They found that while these particles were present in relatively high concentrations in the flame region of home heating burners, these were strongly oxidized, resulting in very low emissions.
In contrast, domestic stovetops emitted larger amounts of these very small particles.
These critical research findings provide important insights regarding the environmental health consequences associated with common place natural gas burners found in many homes, said Domenico Grasso, PhD, Editor in Chief and Dean and Professor in the College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Vermont -Burlington.
The report appears in Environmental Engineering Science journal, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.