Since the 1800s gas stoves were used in American households to heat food. Over a century after their invention, an estimated 40 million households still use gas stoves. Over the decades, however, there has been a steady increase in scrutiny of appliances’ environmental and health effects.
The Journal of the American Medical Association published a new study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health In December 2022, 12.7 percent of children suffering from asthma could have their symptoms due to gas stoves at home. Researchers from Australia and the US estimate that 650,000 children under 18 may be at risk. If gas stoves are not properly maintained and poorly ventilated, they can emit harmful levels of methane and carbon monoxide. A January 2022 study found that they could leak methane, a greenhouse gas.
[Related: Your gas stove could be hurting everyone around you.]
Brady Seals is RMI’s manager for the program of carbon-free buildings and coauthor of this study. The Guardian The prevalence of asthma from gas stoves is comparable to secondhand smoke. These findings were “eye-popping,” she said, adding that “We knew there was an issue but didn’t know the extent.” The study showed that gas stoves could be eliminated in order to prevent childhood asthma from occurring, and this is something most people want.
To determine how many children are exposed to gas stove pollution, the study borrowed data from an analysis done in 2018 that showed that 12.3% of asthma-related cases could be attributed to gas ranges. A 2013 analysis showed that children living in gas stove-equipped homes were 42% more likely to develop asthmatic symptoms.
Seals said that it was like having exhaust from a car in your home. The Washington Post. We know children spend the most time at their homes, alongside the elderly.
The authors mention in this article that they have used multiple assumptions to arrive at their conclusions. There is also the possibility of the dangers being either over- or understated. Furthermore, principal axis factors (PAF), has its limitations.
[Related: Gas stoves are bad for the environment—but what if the power goes out?]
This study was also opposed by the gas industry. The American Gas Association claimed that the paper used a headline-grabbing approach that lacks scientific rigor. It said that the claims in the paper were clearly driven more by hypotheticals and advocacy than the sophisticated science that requires deep analysis.
Republican-led legislatures, as well as industry lobbyists, have resisted plans to eliminate gas stoves from new buildings. New York City and New York are two examples of states that have prohibited the installation of gas hookups into new buildings. Others have been able to prevent these modifications.
Richard Trumka, the head of US Consumer Product Safety Commission announced in December 2022 that the agency would issue a formal request to information about hazards and solutions for gas stoves by March.
Trumka stated that “regulating gas stoves is something we should be discussing, regardless of whether it’s dramatically improving emissions or banning them altogether.” A ban is a strong tool and a possibility.
This move is in line with the efforts to assist lower-income households as well as those renting gas stoves. Inflation Reduction Act of 2020 does provide a rebate of up $840 on the purchase of electric induction cookers.