Gas stoves have led to asthma in 650,000 US children, study finds

Gas stoves have led to asthma in 650,000 US children, study finds

Gas stoves have led to asthma in 650,000 US children, study finds

A person cooks on a gas stove while holding a baby. (Getty Images)

Gas stoves are responsible for 12.7% of childhood asthma cases in the US, according to a new peer-reviewed study International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health has found. This percentage is much higher in states like Illinois (21.1%), California (20.1%) and New York (18.8%), where gas stoves are more common.

“When the gas stove is turned on and it’s burning at that hot temperature, it releases a number of air pollutants,” Brady Seals, co-author of the study and manager of zero-carbon buildings at energy policy think tank RMI, told Yahoo News. “So these include things like particulate matter, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. For example, nitrogen dioxide is a known respiratory irritant. And the EPA said in 2016 that short-term exposure to NO2 causes respiratory effects such as asthma attacks.”

The study was based on a 2013 meta-analysis on the association between gas stoves and childhood asthma, which found that living in a household with a gas stove corresponded to a 42% greater likelihood of developing current childhood asthma. Combined with data on the prevalence of gas stoves, which are present in 35% of US homes, the researchers estimated how many more cases of childhood asthma exist due to their presence. As a result, the researchers found that 650,000 American children suffer from asthma due to gas stoves in their homes.

Gas stoves have led to asthma in 650,000 US children, study finds

A person uses an asthma inhaler. (Getty Images)

The new study follows other research showing that gas stoves are detrimental to indoor air quality. In 2020, UCLA public health researchers commissioned by the Sierra Club found that 90% of households have it unhealthy levels Nitrogen dioxide exposure after cooking with gas for one hour. A 2020 study by RMI found that homes are equipped with gas stoves 50% to over 400% higher concentrations of nitrogen dioxide than households with electric stoves. When burned, gas also releases pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen.

In addition to indoor air pollution, which is the focus of this study, home gas use also contributes to outdoor air pollution, another major cause of asthma. The same toxins that damage children’s lungs while indoors contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, also known as smog, which is toxic. In 2019, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimated that ozone is responsible for 11% of deaths from chronic respiratory diseases. And natural gas is mostly methane, which is also a component of smog formation.

Methane is also a very powerful greenhouse gas 11% of the emissions that warm the planet, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Global warming is also making air pollution worse as hotter weather contributes to smog build-up.

A pot on a gas stove.  (Getty Images)

A pot on a gas stove. (Getty Images)

Cities are increasingly trying to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions Ban on the installation of gas appliances in the new building. Liberal bastions like Berkeley, California, San Francisco, Seattle and New York City have taken such action.

Researchers are also discovering that gas stoves and ovens can pollute indoor air when they’re not even being used. A January 2021 study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology found this gas Stoves and ovens often leakand it estimated that in the US, its leaked methane emissions are equivalent to the carbon emissions of half a million cars.

The UCLA study estimates that in California alone, if all gas appliances in homes were switched to clean-energy electric appliances, the reduction in particulate matter pollution and nitrogen oxides would result in 354 fewer annual deaths and an even greater reduction in bronchitis.

Researchers in the latest study recommend two approaches to reducing indoor exposure to gas stoves: either improve ventilation or replace them with cleaner alternatives like electric stoves. They tend strongly towards the latter.

An Electric Pottery In A Kitchen.

An Electric Pottery In A Kitchen. (Getty Images)

“Remarkably, ventilation is associated with reducing, but not eliminating, the risk of asthma in children,” they write.

Even many stoves with hoods don’t vent to the outside – which defeats the purpose – and people often forget to turn on their vents.

Last month, eight senators and 12 members of the House of Representatives, all Democrats, signed a letter to the Consumer Product Safety Commission to take action to protect consumers from pollution from gas stoves. The letter did not call for a ban on gas stoves, but instead demand regulation Require ventilation and performance standards to limit leakage. CPSC Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. said so in a subsequent webinar a ban on gas stoves would be a “real possibility”.

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