Health hazards and how to reduce the risk

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Some health experts have expressed concern about indoor air pollution from gas stoves. Gillian Vann/Stocksy
  • Federal officials are looking at ways to address the health risks potentially associated with gas stoves.
  • Experts say that while the research isn’t conclusive, there are concerns that gas stoves could contribute to indoor air pollution.
  • They say if you have a gas stove, you can reduce indoor pollution by opening the windows or using air purifiers.

Recent comments from a US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) commissioner have raised some concerns that the federal government may be coming for your gas stove.

That, however, will not happen, according to CPSC chairman Alex Hoehn-Saric.

“Research indicates that emissions from gas stoves can be dangerous, and the CPSC is looking at ways to reduce indoor air quality-related risks,” Hoehn-Saric said in a statement. “But to be clear, I’m not trying to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no process for doing that.”

“CPSC is studying gas emissions in stoves and exploring new ways to address health risks. This is part of our product safety mission: to know the dangers and work to make products safer,” he added.

However, the discussion around gas stoves has also raised awareness of the potential health risks of these common appliances, which are found in the homes of more than 40 million Americans.

A recent study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health suggested that nearly 13 percent of childhood asthma cases in the United States could be attributed to gas stove use.

That study prompted the CPSC Commissioner’s most recent comments.

However, previous studies have been less conclusive.

Some research has suggested a similar link between asthma and gas stoves, while others have noted that a cohort study of children from birth would be required to truly explore the connection.

Others add that existing studies do not demonstrate sufficient associations between asthma risk and the use of indoor heaters.

“The results were not definitive. Therefore, I hesitate to say that gas stoves are dangerous for children,” said Dr. Ali Alhassani, head of clinical services at digital health company Summer Health.

“Many have suggested that asthma is linked to the presence of gas stoves, but asthma is a complex disease caused by a variety of factors, both genetic and environmental,” he told Healthline. “Gas stoves can release gases that would be unhealthy if inhaled in large concentrations, but we can’t say for sure that they are dangerous for children.”

“Burning natural gas generates indoor air pollution of nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter, which are known to affect the airways and are associated with the prevalence of asthma,” said Andrea De Vizcaya Ruiz, PhD, associate professor of environment and occupational health with UC Irvine Public Health. “And electric heaters would reduce or eliminate the presence of these agents.””

“However, this isolated action does not completely reduce indoor air pollution,” Ruiz told Healthline.

Other home combustion devices that are left burning much longer than a kitchen stove, such as fireplaces, wood stoves, and kerosene stoves, may also be factors, previous studies show.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t risks associated with gas stoves. It’s just that definitive causal connections between asthma and stove use are harder to come by.

A 2022 study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology reported that gas stoves can result in excess methane and nitrogen oxides, the latter of which has been associated with an increased risk of respiratory disease.

“These substances may be environmental triggers that worsen asthma or other respiratory conditions, but their presence does not guarantee disease,” Dr. Christina Johns, pediatric emergency physician and senior medical advisor at PM Pediatric, told Healthline. Dear.

“Our data suggest that households who don’t use their range hoods or who have poor ventilation can exceed the national NO2 standard (100 ppb) within minutes of using the stove, particularly in smaller kitchens,” they said. wrote the study authors.

The Federal Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 provides tax credits for converting your home to more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly appliances, including savings for switching from gas to electric induction stoves.

But even with the tax credits, the cost of switching appliances is likely to be burdensome for many. In this case, ventilation is essential.

“If people are trying to prevent any risks from gas stoves, the best thing people can do is have adequate ventilation in the kitchen while using them,” Alhassani said. “You can turn on the extractor fan if there’s one blowing the air out or just open a window.”

Opening a window is especially important if the range does not vent outside.

And if you have an air purifier with a HEPA filter for COVID-19 mitigation, you can put it to dual use in the kitchen, Alhassani said.

Other best practices include checking carbon monoxide detectors regularly and getting one for your kitchen if you don’t already have one.

You can also “consider looking for alternatives to stovetop cooking for certain nights of the week,” Johns said. “Look into appliances to replace the range whenever possible, such as microwaves, slow cookers, air fryers, and toaster ovens.”

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