New Study Finds Gas Stoves a Key Cause of US Childhood Asthma

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Industry propaganda has long depicted polluting appliances as clean and efficient.

This story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

About one in eight cases of asthma in children in the United States is due to the pollution given off by cooking on gas stoves, new research has found, amid moves by Joe Biden’s administration to consider the regulation, or even banning, of gas cookers sales to Americans.

Around a third of US households have gas stoves in their kitchens, with the gas industry long touting the method as the cleanest and most efficient way to cook food.

However, research has repeatedly found the emission of toxic chemicals and carcinogens from gas stoves, even when they are turned off, is creating a miasma of indoor pollution that can be several times worse than the pollution experienced outdoors from car traffic and heavy industry.

A new study has now sketched out the risk being posed to children exposed to pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide that spew from the stoves, finding that 12.7 percent of all current cases of childhood asthma in the US are due to the use of gas stoves.

Researchers said that this means that with around 5 million children in the US experiencing asthma, around 650,000 people aged under 18 could be suffering asthma attacks and having to use inhalers because of the presence of gas stoves in their homes.

Brady Seals, manager of the carbon free buildings program at RMI who undertook the research with epidemiologists in the US and Australia, said the prevalence of asthma due to gas stoves is similar to the amount of asthma caused by second hand smoking, which she called “eye popping.” Seals added: “We knew this was a problem but we didn’t know how bad. This study shows that if we got rid of gas stoves we would prevent 12.7 percent of childhood asthma cases, which I think most people would want to do.”

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