More evidence of harmful health effects posed by gas stoves

New research further underscores the significant health risks associated with gas stove usage, especially in poorly ventilated kitchens.

Nate Seltenrich reports for Environmental Health Perspectives.


In short:

  • Indoor nitrogen dioxide levels can exceed outdoor air quality standards within minutes of gas stove use, posing serious respiratory health risks.
  • Gas stoves not only release nitrogen dioxide but also other harmful pollutants like formaldehyde and benzene, potentially increasing cancer and asthma risks.
  • A study suggests 12.7% of U.S. childhood asthma cases could be linked to gas stove emissions.

Key quote:

“At high temperatures...a lot of messy things happen. Chemical bonds can break, and things can rearrange. And if you are dealing with [nitrogen] and [oxygen] in a high-temperature situation, one of the products you will get is [nitrogen dioxide].”

-- Yannai Kashtan, researcher at Stanford University

Why this matters:

Research on some middle- and lower-income countries where many households rely predominantly on solid fuel cooking (think wood, dung and other biomass) has found that switching to gas stoves improves air quality and health outcomes. But ultimately, electric stoves emit significantly lower levels of many harmful air pollutants than gas stoves. Bottom line: whatever kind of stove you use, it's best to cook with plenty of ventilation.

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