Cooking with Gas Can Harm Children
Many large studies (see the footnotes for much more information) of US children have found a gas stove in a home is correlated with increased prevalence of respiratory problems such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, and wheezing in the children who live there. 1, 2
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is well studied, harmful to children, and significantly higher in homes with gas stoves.3, 4 In a combined analysis of 11 pediatric studies, researchers concluded that a long-term increase of 15 parts per billion of NO2 (about the difference between cooking with gas versus electric) increased the risk of respiratory illnesses such as asthma by 20%.5 In Massachusetts, researchers also found a “dose-response” relationship between the amount of NO2 exposure (the “dose”) and the asthma severity of children (the “response”). The more NO2, the worse the asthma.6
Fracking Contaminates Air and Water
In Massachusetts, more than half of the gas we use is mined through hydraulic fracturing or fracking.7 Fracking contaminates local air and water.
Living near a fracking site is associated with higher rates of asthma as well as premature and low birth-weight babies8 who have long-term health risks and medical costs.
By reducing our consumption of gas, we can help protect these communities.
“Natural” Gas Accelerates Climate Change
Here in New England, many of our homes use natural gas.9 This gas is mostly methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Because a significant amount of that methane leaks into the atmosphere all along the system from where it’s produced to where it’s used, natural gas damages our climate more than coal.10
Make Your Home Safer
- Always turn on your vent hood or open a window when you cook with gas
- Replace your gas stove with electric or induction stoves when you can
- Replace your other gas or oil appliances with state-of-the-art electric appliances as you can
Make a Transition Plan
It can take time to move from gas to induction and electricity, but it’s worth the effort for your family’s health and our climate. Make a budget and a timeline for switching to an induction or electric stove and an electric heat pump.
You can’t green a fossil fuel, but you can green electricity.
1 Belanger K, Gent JF, Triche EW, Bracken MB, Leaderer BP. Association of Indoor Nitrogen Dioxide Exposure with Respiratory Symptoms in Children with Asthma. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 2006;173(3):297-303. doi:10.1164/rccm.200408-1123OC.
2 Belanger K, Holford TR, Gent JF, Hill ME, Kezik JM, Leaderer BP. Household levels of nitrogen dioxide and pediatric asthma severity. Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass). 2013;24(2):320-330. doi:10.1097/EDE.0b013e318280e2ac.
3 Kile ML, Coker ES, Smit E, Sudakin D, Molitor J, Harding AK. A cross-sectional study of the association between ventilation of gas stoves and chronic respiratory illness in U.S. children enrolled in NHANESIII. Environmental Health. 2014;13:71. doi:10.1186/1476-069X-13-71.
4 Coker ES, Smit E, Harding AK, Molitor J, Kile ML. A cross sectional analysis of behaviors related to operating gas stoves and pneumonia in U.S. children under the age of 5. BMC Public Health. 2015;15:77. doi:10.1186/s12889-015-1425-y.
5 Hasselblad V1, Eddy DM, Kotchmar DJ. Synthesis of environmental evidence: nitrogen dioxide epidemiology studies. J Air Waste Manage Assoc. 1992 May;42(5):662-71.
6 Lin W, Brunekreef B, Gehring, U; Meta-analysis of the effects of indoor nitrogen dioxide and gas cooking on asthma and wheeze in children, International Journalof Epidemiology, 2013; 42(6): 1724–1737. doi:10.1093/ije/dyt150
7 The US Energy Administration. Today in Energy. Last accessed January, 2018.
8 Stone, J. Fracking Is Dangerous To Your Health — Here’s Why. Forbes, Feb. 23, 2017. Last accessed November, 2017.
9 Gas stoves are used by around 39% of US households. US Department of Housing and Urban Development and US Census Bureau, American Housing Survey for the United States. Gas is used more widely in Northeast compared to other regions.
10 The Union of Concerned Scientists. Environmental Impacts of Natural Gas. Last accessed January, 2018.