Do exhaust hoods improve household air quality?
Yes, significantly. If you have one, turn it on every time you cook.
Cooking is terrible for indoor air quality. While all types of cooking release ultrafine particulate matter, gas burners and high-heat pan frying are especially likely to fill homes with harmful pollutants. But people need to eat, and fried food is inarguably delicious.
The solution: ventilation.
Exhaust hoods can reduce household cooking pollution by 80-95%. They lower concentrations of nitrogen oxides—which are produced by gas stoves and linked to asthma in kids—as well as particulate matter.
Improving household kitchen ventilation on a large scale will require a two-pronged approach: ensuring homes have high-quality exhaust hoods installed, and that people use them.
For peak performance, hoods should have a high airflow and capture emissions from all burners. But people with less effective hoods can compensate by running them for fifteen minutes or so after cooking and cooking on back burners.
And while there's no good estimate of how many homes in the U.S. have exhaust hoods, one study found that people who have them only turn them on about one-third of the time. So if you have an exhaust hood, use it.