Gas stoves are dangerous, and we’ve known it for decades

January 23, 2023


Gas Leaks


You may have heard the news: gas stoves release toxic air pollution connected to asthma and cancer. While this recent political firestorm is new, the science is anything but — researchers have been documenting the health threats from gas stoves for decades:


  • 1977: “Boys and girls from homes in which gas was used for cooking were found to have more cough, ‘colds going to the chest’, and bronchitis than children from homes where electricity was used.” 
  • 1979: “The prevalence of respiratory illness was higher in children from gas than electric cooking homes.”
  • 1980: “Comparisons were made between children living in homes with gas stoves and those living in homes with electric stoves. Children from households with gas stoves had a greater history of respiratory illness before age 2.”
  • 1983: “In a survey of 1,355 children six- to 12 years of age, the risk of hospitalization for respiratory illness among children before age two years was increased when gas was used for cooking at home.”
  • 1991: “The increase in the odds of respiratory Illness in children exposed to a long-term increase in (nitrogen dioxide) … comparable to the increase resulting from exposure to a gas stove is about 20 percent.” 
  • 1997: “Gas stove exposure was a significant risk factor for respiratory symptoms even after adjusting for nitrogen dioxide levels” 
  • 2000: A study of 194 preschool students in Finland found that having a gas stove at home increased the childrens’ risk of carbon monoxide exposure. 
  • 2001: “In general, cooking with gas generated more particles than did electricity … When the electric cooker was used, there was no rise in nitrogen dioxides.” 
  • 2008: “The presence of a gas stove and the use of a space heater or oven/stove for heat were independently associated with higher NO2 concentrations … associated with increased asthma symptoms in preschool inner-city children.” 
  • 2009: “We found that early-life exposure to household gas appliances is associated negatively with general cognitive functioning and with a higher risk of developing ADHD symptoms at age 4 years.” 
  • 2012: “Emissions from the use of the gas stove were a factor of 2 higher than an electric stove for the same cooking method.”
  • 2013: An analysis of 41 studies found children living in a home with gas cooking have a 42% increased risk of having asthma. 
  • 2013: “60 percent of homes in California that cook at least once a week with a gas stove can reach pollutant levels that would be illegal if found outdoors.” 
  • 2014: “Asthmatic children exposed to nitrogen dioxide indoors … are at risk for increased asthma morbidity … gas appliances such as gas cooking stoves are primary sources (of nitrogen dioxide) indoors.” 
  • 2014: “We modeled gas stove emissions and exposures in California households and estimated that during a typical winter week … 1.7 million Californians could be exposed to carbon monoxide levels that exceed national and state ambient air quality standards” 
  • 2014: Researchers found that installing ventilation hoods did not significantly decrease nitrogen dioxide emissions from gas stoves — replacing them with electric induction stoves was by far the best way to reduce pollution.
  • 2014: World Health Organization Indoor Air Quality Standards: “Numerous studies of indoor NO2 concentrations have found that use of gas stoves generated more nitrogen dioxide and ultrafine particles than use of electric stoves…”
  • 2015: Using gas stoves for heat without ventilation was associated with higher odds of pneumonia and cough among U.S. children less than five years old who live in homes with a gas stove. 
  • 2015: “(Nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide) were higher in homes that cooked with gas and increased with amount of gas cooking.” 
  • 2016: “Respiratory symptoms in asthmatic children were also related to indoor NO2 in several epidemiological studies, and interventions to reduce NO2 from gas appliances in classrooms decreased respiratory symptoms.” 
  • 2019: “Cooking with natural gas increases nitrogen dioxide, degrades indoor air quality, and increases the risk of respiratory illnesses in children, including asthma.”
  • 2019: “A growing body of human studies associate exposure to combustion-related air pollutants (PM2.5, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, nitrogen dioxide, black carbon) with adverse effects on brain development, including deficits in intelligence, memory, and behavior.” 
  • 2020: “A robust body of scientific research shows the pollutants released by gas stoves can have negative health effects, often exacerbating respiratory conditions like asthma.”
  • 2020: “Under a cooking scenario where the stove and oven are used simultaneously for an hour, acute exposures to nitrogen dioxide from cooking with gas appliances exceeded (air quality standards) in more than 90% of scenarios” 
  • 2021: “A child living with gas cooking in the home faces a comparable risk of asthma to a child living with household cigarette smoke.” 
  • 2022: Measurements of gas stoves in the Boston area found 21 different hazardous air pollutants, including benzene, a known carcinogen that is unsafe for humans at any level. 
  • 2022: Gas stoves leak methane into kitchens constantly, even when they’re turned off. “More than three-quarters of methane emissions we measured originated during steady-state-off.” 

The science is clear: burning a fossil fuel inside our kitchens releases harmful air pollution. That’s why the American Medical Association, American Lung Association and American Public Health Association have all spoken out about gas stoves. It’s past time to address this hidden health threat and help people make the switch to cleaner, safer all-electric induction stoves. 


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