Can Gas Stoves Make You Sick?

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You may have seen some recent news articles about the US government potentially banning the use of gas ranges. 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 can lead to childhood asthma.



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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.¹ 

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.²

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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.³ 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.

Here’s how you can keep safe in the kitchen

The best way to stay safe is to get an electric stove. Now, we know you probably can’t run out and buy an electric stove to replace your gas stove right away. Until then, there are some things you can do to make your home safer:

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  • Use an air purifier. Here are our top picks for air purifiers.
  • 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.

FAQ

Yes, in some places (like New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle) are banning the use of home appliances that use natural gas. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission is considering banning them nationwide.

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
  • Headache
  • Nausea or reduced appetite
  • Depression, irritability, or other mood changes
  • Ringing in ears
  • Death

No. Indoor gas stoves can cause toxic levels of indoor air pollution.


Related articles on SafeWise

Sources

  1. Eric D. Lebel, Environmental Science & Technology, “Methane and NOx Emissions from Natural Gas Stoves, Cooktops, and Ovens in Residential Homes,” January 27, 2022. Accessed January 9, 2023.
  2. Brady Anne Seals, Rocky Mountain Institute, “Health Effects from Gas Stove Pollution.” Accessed January 9, 2023.
  3. Drew R. Michanowicz, Environmental Science & Technology, “Home is Where the Pipeline Ends: Characterization of Volatile Organic Compounds Present in Natural Gas at the Point of the Residential End User,” July 19, 2022. Accessed January 9, 2023.
  4. Weiwei Lin, International Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 42, Issue 6, December 2013, Pages 1724–1737, “Meta-analysis of the Effects of Indoor Nitrogen Dioxide and Gas Cooking on Asthma and Wheeze in Children,” August 20, 2013. Accessed January 9, 2023.
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Alina Bradford
Written by
Alina Bradford
Alina is a safety and security expert that has contributed her insights to CNET, CBS, Digital Trends, MTV, Top Ten Reviews, and many others. Her goal is to make safety and security gadgets less mystifying one article at a time. In the early 2000s, Alina worked as a volunteer firefighter, earning her first responder certification and paving the way to her current career. Her activities aren’t nearly as dangerous today. Her hobbies include fixing up her 100-year-old house, doing artsy stuff, and going to the lake with her family.

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