Gas Stoves Worsen Symptoms in People Who Suffer from Lung Diseases

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The American Thoracic Society 2024 International Conference presented very strong evidence that gas stoves burn methane that releases significant amounts of indoor nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which worsens symptoms and reduces lung function tests in people with lung disease. About 40 percent of U.S. households cook with gas stoves, and any air pollutant can cause an asthmatic to cough, wheeze and become short of breath. This increased exposure to gas stoves probably causes about 50,000 cases of pediatric asthma (Science Advances, May 3, 2024;10(18)).

Gas stoves are used in approximately 50 million U.S. homes and millions more worldwide. A review of 10 studies found that people who lived with gas stoves are at considerably increased risk for being asthmatic (Int J Epidemiol, Dec 2013;42(6):1724-37). Another study suggests that children who live in homes without gas stoves are 13 percent less likely to be asthmatic or to develop COPD or pneumonia (Int J Environ Res, Public Health, 2023;20(1):75). Yet another study associates gas stoves with childhood asthma (The Lancet, Jan 6, 2022;6), and notes that range hoods must be vented toward the outside or they will be no benefit whatever in getting rid of indoor methane gas.

Air pollutants that can be emitted from gas stoves to irritate lungs include:

• Nitrogen dioxide (NO2): Breathing NO2 can cause asthma attacks in asthmatic children (Eur Resp J, 2011;38: 303-309) and is associated with increased risk for asthma in children (Leuk Res, 2013;42:1724–1737). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulates outdoor NO2 emissions, but there are no similar standards for indoor exposure.
• Benzene: Unburned natural gas that leaks from stoves contains benzene, an established carcinogen (Lancet Oncology, Dec, 2017;18(12):1574-1575).
• Airborne small particles (diameter less than 2.5 microns) from cooking with gas are known to cause coughing, shortness of breath and lung damage in healthy people (Exp & Mol Med, 2020; 52:311–317).

Backlash Against Gas Stoves
• July 23, 2019: Berkeley, California was the first US city to ban natural gas.
• February 2, 2021: Seattle, Washington banned natural gas in new buildings in appliances such as gas furnaces and water heaters.
• December 15, 2021: New York City banned gas in new buildings.
• May 27, 2022: Los Angeles, California banned most gas appliances in new homes
• October 26, 2022: The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s meeting minutes listed 15 different alternatives to natural gas.
• January 11, 2023: A U.S. federal agency is considering a ban on gas stoves.
• February 1, 2023: The U.S. Department of Energy set first-of-their-kind limits on energy consumption for gas stoves.

My Recommendations
At this point, it is still controversial whether gas stoves are harmful. If you use a gas stove:
• Turn on the overhead vent or exhaust fan whenever you use it.
• Change the filter on the exhaust fan frequently, perhaps every 4-6 months.
• When you can, use a microwave or other electric appliances to heat foods.
Gas water heaters, furnaces and driers can also leak pollutants, so they should be in your garage rather than in your house.