You may have seen some recent news articles about the US government potentially banning the use of gas ranges and wondered if the same thing could happen in Australia. While these types of stove tops have been the go-to for professional chefs and home cooks alike, studies show they could be detrimental to your health. Gas ranges affect the air quality in the home and may even lead to childhood asthma.
Can gas stoves make you sick?
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Gas stoves release toxins
Even well-maintained gas stoves release dangerous gasses, including a greenhouse gas called methane (CH4), even when they’re not turned on. In a 2022 study, researchers found that natural gas stoves they tested released methane and nitrogen oxides (NOx) into the air. The NO2 released from a gas stove can reach high levels in just minutes.
This isn’t news, though. There have been many studies over the last 40 years on how gas stoves release toxins into the air. The pollution released from these appliances would be illegal for outdoor appliances, but the air quality from indoor gas stoves isn’t regulated.
Image: Annushka Ahuja
Toxins from gas stoves can make you sick
Research has shown that 21 different hazardous air pollutants (volatile organic compounds or VOCs) are released into the air by gas stoves and other gas appliances in the home. Being exposed to VOCs can raise your risk of developing asthma, cancer, and more.
Kids are particularly vulnerable. An analysis of studies found that kids that live in a home with gas stoves are more likely to develop asthma. If the child already has asthma, then the NO2 released from the stove could make the child’s wheezing worse.
Other health problems that can result from exposure to NO2 include coughing, difficulty breathing, and susceptibility to respiratory infections in both children and adults.
- Use an air purifier, like the Philips Series 1000.
- Keep your home well-ventilated. Open windows and use your stove’s exhaust fan.
- Use electric appliances whenever you can. Use an electric kettle to heat water. Use your microwave to heat up food instead of your oven. Use your pressure cooker to make family meals. You get the idea.
- Use air quality monitors to keep track of the air quality in your home.
No, gas stoves aren't currently being phased out in Australia. However, there is a growing movement of chefs, doctors and property developers campaigning to put an end to the installation of new gas appliances.
You could get sick and, ultimately, die. Carbon monoxide from the gas is very dangerous and can cause:
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Breathing difficulties or chest pains
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Eye or throat irritation
- Nausea or reduced appetite
- Depression, irritability, or other mood changes
- Ringing in ears
No. Indoor gas stoves can cause toxic levels of indoor air pollution.