Gas cookers linked to childhood asthma

Here’s a low-cost practical way to improve health in homes or apartments that use natural gas cooktops, a mainstay of American households. Suggestions afterwards.

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Gas cookers pump out toxic particles

linked to childhood asthma, report finds


Scientists find average levels of nitrogen dioxide almost twice

as high in homes cooking with gas as in those cooking without.


Ajit Niranjan

The Guardian

8 Nov 2023


Gas cookers are pumping toxic particles linked to childhood asthma into kitchens, living rooms and bedrooms across Europe, a report has found.

Dutch scientists measured the air quality in 247 homes and found average levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) were almost twice as high in those cooking with gas as in those cooking without. One in four homes with gas cookers breached hourly pollution levels set by the World Health Organization, while none of the homes in the control group, which used electric cookers, broke the limits.

Piet Jacobs, a scientist from the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, said …


“Changing to electric cooking – pre-

ferably combined with use of well-

designed ventilation hoods to reduce

exposure to high levels of particulate

matter from cooking – can bring these

values down to below recommended levels.”


Burning gas to cook food releases pollutants such as NO2 that hurt lungs and inflame airways. Scientists have long known of an association between gas cookers and childhood asthma, though they have not proved a causal link between the two.

The report, which was commissioned by the energy efficiency group Clasp, measured indoor NO2 levels in seven European countries. The scientists chose homes in which people did not smoke, and that were far from busy roads and factories, to reduce the effect of other sources of pollution.

They found pollution spikes could last several hours and were more intense the longer people cooked. On average, the WHO daily limit for NO2 pollution was breached for 3.25 days over the 13-day testing period.

Juana María Delgado-Saborit, the head of the environmental health research lab at Jaume I University in Spain, who served as an external reviewer for the study, said …


“This is a key study that will facilitate

raising awareness and triggering action

that will protect the health of those

most vulnerable, like our children.”


She said the biggest limitation of the study was that the researchers had to use sensors, which did not perform as well as the scientific instruments used to measure air quality in laboratories or outdoors. To counter this, they calibrated the sensors before and after installing them in each home. Delgado-Saborit said …


“I have seen the evidence from their

quality assurance programme and I

am confident that the researchers

have used sound methods.”


The study found that cooking with gas frequently led to levels of indoor air pollution that would be illegal outdoors. While the WHO guidelines for clean air apply indoors and outdoors, the rules in the EU and UK only govern outdoor pollution levels.

The report recommends that governments strengthen rules on cooking appliances, companies stop making and installing gas hobs and ovens, and consumers upgrade to electric cookers and ventilate their kitchens with cooker hoods and open windows.


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When we began development of the Garden Atriums net zero sustainable living community, we included one of the best natural gas cooktops we could find.  My wife insisted on cooking with natural gas because it provided even heat. However … when we were building our fifth Garden Atrium home, induction electric cooktops came out.  We tested them.  The heat was completely even.  It was also instant … when you press “HI”, the temperature is immediately high.  There’s no warm-up time (which still amazes me a bit.) And the power consumption is so low that we didn’t have to add to our PV array.

If you go to our www.gardenatriums,com web site, click under the “videos” heading. The right-hand column has ten one-minute how-to ”Tips videos” that you can see on your cell phone.  One such video is focused on these induction electric cooktops – with a demonstration. Just scroll down to it.

Whether you live in your own home or are renting an apartment, installing one of these cooktops is both inexpensive and health-improving. Adding D’s comments …


“You also get an $840 tax credit when you install an induction electric cooktop … which should make the changeover even more enticing. 

“There are other chemicals, such as benzine, that are put out by gas appliances – even when they’re not in use. Those other chemicals are also carcinogenic. Eliminating them will help the health of all members of your household.”

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