(ABC4) – Natural gas is a popular fuel choice for home cooking. Nationally, over one-third of households cook with gas. Among all gas appliances, the stove has byproducts of combustion that are emitted directly into home air with no requirement for venting the exhaust outdoors, which can affect indoor air quality.

A new study that was released on Thursday measured how the release of Methane through a gas stove can impact one’s health and the environment – the results were daunting.

According to the study, annual methane emissions from all gas stoves in U.S. homes have a climate impact comparable to the annual carbon dioxide emissions of 500, 000 cars.

In addition to methane emissions, co-emitted health-damaging air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides are released into home air and can trigger respiratory diseases.

The authors of the study found their findings based on methane released in 53 homes during all phases of stove use: steady-state-off (appliance not in use), steady-state-on (during combustion), and transitory periods of ignition and extinguishment.

More than three-quarters of methane emissions that were measured originated while the ovens were not in use.

According to the Enviromental Defense Fund (EDF), methane has more than 80 times the warming power than carbon dioxide over the first 20 years that it reaches the atmosphere. Although carbon dioxide has a longer-lasting effect, methane sets the pace for warming in the shorter term.

The EDF also says on its website that atmospheric concentration of methane is incresing faster now than at any time since the 1980’s.

The study also looked at homes that don’t have range hoods and have poor ventilation and found that the concentration of harmful nitrogen oxides can reach and surpass a healthy limit within minutes – especially when it comes to smaller kitchens.

From 2012 to 2018, the EDF has done extensive research on the issue and has found that methane leaks in the U.S. are far greater threat than the government;s estimate suggest.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says the oil and gas industry emits eight million metric tons of methane a year. The EDF’s research suggest otherwise. A five-year research series uncovered at least 13 million metric tons- which is 60% higher than the EPA’s.

Since these disoveries, the government has taken steps to lessen the negative impact of methane emisson. In June 2021, President Biden signed a bill to reinstate a rule passed by Obama which reduces methane pollution from the oil and gas industry.