13% of US Child Asthma Cases Blamed on Gas Stoves

It's about the same prevalence as caused by second-hand smoke, researcher says
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2023 1:11 PM CST
For Child Asthma, Gas Stoves as Bad as Second-Hand Smoke
The flame on a gas stove.   (Getty Images/Seiya Tabuchi)

Gas stoves, found in 35% of US homes, are responsible for about one in eight cases of childhood asthma in the US, according to what researchers describe as "eye-popping" new findings. Studies have shown gas stoves, even when not in use, emit a level of pollution "that can be several times worse than the pollution experienced outdoors from car traffic and heavy industry," per the Guardian. This latest study attributes 12.7% of US cases of childhood asthma to the use of gas stoves, which according to study author Brady Seals is similar to the prevalence of asthma caused by second-hand smoke. The rate is even higher in New York (18.8%), California (20.1%), and Illinois (21.1%), Yahoo reports.

"It's like having car exhaust in a home," Seals, a manager and air quality expert at the clean energy-focused non-profit RMI, tells the Washington Post. Researchers copied the methodology of a 2018 analysis that blamed gas stoves for 12.3% of childhood asthma cases in Australia. They used Census data in conjunction with data from a 2013 meta-analysis that found children in homes with gas stoves were 42% more likely to experience asthma symptoms in linking 650,000 US childhood asthma cases to exposure to stove pollutants including nitrogen dioxide and methane, according to the peer-reviewed study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

The American Gas Association is unsurprisingly bashing the research. "The authors conducted no measurements or tests based on real-life appliance usage, emissions rates or exposures, and did not adequately consider other factors that are known to contribute to asthma," President and CEO Karen Harbert says, per the Post. Seals counters that the 2013 research did control for factors such as mold, pets, and tobacco smoke exposure. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is currently weighing regulations on gas stoves, including an outright ban. "We can and must FIX this," Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm tweeted Wednesday in response to the study, promoting tax credits for households that replace gas stoves with electric and induction cooktops, per the Post. (Read more pollutants stories.)

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