Natural gas — just by nature of being the most common residential energy source in the U.S. — has the sheen of being a relatively safe and clean kind of power. But increasingly, researchers are concerned we don’t have a firm enough handle on its potential health effects.
Research suggests somewhere around 1% of natural gas — which is mostly methane — wafts out of stovetops unburned and untouched. Cooking or heating with natural gas also releases potentially toxic compounds into the air. A new study, published Tuesday in Environmental Science & Technology, underscores the scope of those concerns: In natural gas samples collected from 69 homes in the Boston area, researchers detected 21 federally-regulated hazardous air pollutants.