Study: Gas stoves linked to asthma in children

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The days of gas-powered stoves in American homes may be numbered.

“For just everyday life in the kitchen, it’s easy to forget about this or ignore it,” said Dr. Curtis Nordgaard, an environmental health researcher with PSE Healthy Energy. 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission was reportedly ready to take action against the common household appliances on Monday. The federal agency cited recent research linking gas stoves to childhood asthma cases. 

After the story gained traction with prominent Democrat and Republican leaders, the agency clarified Wednesday it’s only exploring ways to address the health concerns. 

“We really need to take these studies seriously, because this is our window into looking at the bigger picture,” said Nordgaard. 

A January 2022 study from the American Chemical Society found gas stoves emit numerous air pollutants into homes – including methane, carbon monoxide, and natural gas itself. Nordgaard says the most concerning emission is nitrogen dioxide. 

“It’s an irritant. It’s toxic to the airways, and it’s definitely associated with respiratory diseases like asthma,” he said. 

A study published in late 2022 found 12.7% of childhood asthma cases are linked to homes with a gas stove.  

Another recent study found children living in homes with gas stoves are at least 42.8% more likely to already have asthma.  

Nordgaard says researchers have known about possible health risks since the 1970s 

“What’s really happening is that we’re seeing the accumulation of a body of scientific evidence that’s all pointing to the same thing – having a gas stove is a health risk,” he said. 

The 2020 Residential Energy Consumption Survey found 50% of homes in New Mexico have at least one gas-powered cooking appliance. Nearly 40 million homes nationwide have a gas stove. 

Nordgaard says research shows gas stoves also leak chemicals – primarily natural gas – even when they’re not in use. He says proper ventilation systems can significantly reduce the amount of emissions found inside homes, but he adds few homes are likely using proper ventilation. 

Studies show other gas-powered appliances, like water heaters and dryers, also emit harmful chemicals; however, those appliances are used as often as stoves and not in main living areas like a kitchen. 

“I think the first thing people have to start by realizing is that if you have gas in the home, you’re really opening yourself up to the possibility of that that is adversely affecting your health. That’s square one,” Nordgaard said.