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% 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% of childhood asthma cases, which I think most people would want to do.”
The possibility of banning new gas stoves, challenging their entrenched status in millions of American homes, was raised by Richard Trumka, a commissioner at the US consumer product safety commission last month. Trumka said the pollution created by gas stoves is “concerning” and that the commission, which can set standards for consumer products, will consider regulating them this year.