If you were asked to rank the most dangerous appliances in your household, you would probably think about the fireplace, garbage disposal, or even your toaster.
The gas stove you use to cook everything is probably the last thing on your mind. Well, it turns out your stove might be a little more dangerous than you originally thought. Recent studies have concluded that there are some negative effects to using a gas stove at home, especially around kids.
Your Gas Stove Could Increase Your Kids' Risk of Asthma and Lung Issues
A Stanford professor of environmental sciences, Rob Jackson, conducted a study that found that gas stoves pollute the household air with dangerous gases such as nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, and formaldehyde. They also leak methane at a constant rate, even if they're not being used. Gases like this can have detrimental effects on kids' lung development.
In 2013, there were 41 different studies published in the International Journal of Epidemiology that found kids had a 42% increase in asthma if they lived in a house with a gas stove and they were also more likely to suffer from lifetime wheezing. Yet another study the following year from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that cooking with your gas stove for just one hour without using your hood fan emits up to 3,000 parts per billion of carbon monoxide into your house. This raises the indoor concentrations by up to 30%.
“We know that these gas appliances, and gas stoves in particular, are terrible for health,” says Dr. Lisa Patel of Stanford University. “Higher levels of nitrogen dioxide place children, in particular, at risk for asthma. Carbon monoxide, which can reach dangerous levels, can be a real risk factor for people with cardiovascular disease. And chronic exposure to PM 2.5 increases your risk for a shorter lifespan, for asthma, for decreased lung function, and for premature birth.”
Some researchers and scientists who have been involved with this study announced that they already got rid of their gas stove to preserve the health of themselves and their children.
Stanford professor Rob Jackson told CBC, “I am reluctant to throw away a perfectly good electric oven. But we’re going to do that.” His gas stove has an electric oven, but it's not possible to simply swap out the gas burners.
Tara Kahan, a University of Saskatchewan chemist, conducted a study in 2018 that reviewed the air readings in homes using gas stoves and found very high amounts of nitrous oxide after each cook. “After that, as soon as it was feasible, I switched from a gas stove to [electric] induction,” she said.
If you do have a gas stove at home, it's a good idea to use HEPA air filters and always cook with the hood on to ventilate the air. Never use a gas stove without some kind of ventilation.