Gas Stoves: Health Dangers and How to Lower Your Risk
ISLAMABAD: Recent comments from a commissioner at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have touched off some concerns that the federal government might be coming for your gas stove.
That, however, is not going to happen, according to Alex Hoehn-Saric, chair of the CPSC.
“Research indicates that emissions from gas stoves can be hazardous and the CPSC is looking for ways to reduce related indoor air quality hazards,” Hoehn-Saric said in a statement. “But to be clear, I am not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so.”
“CPSC is researching gas emissions in stoves and exploring new ways to address health risks. This is part of our product safety mission – learning about hazards and working to make products safer,” he added.
However, the discussion around gas stoves has also raised public consciousness about the potential health risks of these common household appliances, which are in more than 40 million Americans’ homes.
Health concerns raised about gas stoves
A recent study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health suggested that nearly 13% of childhood asthma cases in the United States could be attributed to gas stove use.
That study touched off the most recent CPSC commissioner’s 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 studyTrusted Source of children starting at birth would be needed to truly explore the connection.
Others add that existing studies don’t prove sufficient associations between asthma risk and indoor stove usage.
“The results have not been definitive. Therefore, I hesitate to say that gas stoves are dangerous for children,” said Dr. Ali Alhassani, the head of clinical services at the digital health company Summer Health.
“Many have suggested that asthma is connected to the presence of gas stoves, but asthma is a complex disease that is caused by a variety of factors, both genetic and environmental,” he told Healthline. “Gas stoves can release gasses that would be unhealthy if inhaled at large concentrations, but we cannot say definitively that they are dangerous for kids.”
Stoves and indoor air pollution
“Burning of natural gas generates indoor air pollution of nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter, which are known to affect the respiratory tract and are associated with asthma prevalence,” said Andrea De Vizcaya Ruiz, PhD, an associate professor of environmental and occupational health with UC Irvine Public Health. “And electrical stoves would reduce or annul the presence of these agents.””
“However, this isolated action does not reduce indoor air pollution completely,” Ruiz told Healthline.
Other home combustion devices that are left on far longer than a cooking stove, such as fireplaces, woodstoves, and kerosene heaters, can also be factors, previous studies showTrusted Source.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t risks associated with gas stoves, however. It’s just that definitive causal connections between asthma and stove use are harder to come by.
One 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 increased respiratory disease risk.
“These substances can be environmental triggers that worsen asthma or other respiratory conditions, but their presence does not guarantee illness,” Dr. Christina Johns, a pediatric emergency doctor and senior medical advisor at PM Pediatric Care, told Healthline.
“Our data suggest that families who don’t use their range hoods or who have poor ventilation can surpass the national standard of NO2 (100 ppb) within a few minutes of stove usage, particularly in smaller kitchens,” the study authors wrote.
Creating a safer kitchen environment
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 transitioning from gas to induction electric stoves.
But even with tax credits, the cost of switching appliances is likely to be burdensome for many. In this case, ventilation is key.
“If people are looking to prevent any potential risks from gas stoves, the best thing people can do is to have adequate ventilation in the kitchen while using it,” said Alhassani. “You can turn on the exhaust fan if there is one that lets air outside or simply open a window.”