A new study has found that around 12.7% of childhood asthma cases in the U.S. are caused by the pollution emitted by cooking on gas stoves.
Approximately one-third of U.S. households have gas stoves, which have long been marketed as the cleanest and most efficient cooking method.
However, research has shown that gas stoves emit toxic chemicals and carcinogens, even when not in use, creating indoor pollution that can be several times worse than outdoor pollution from traffic and heavy industry. The study estimates that with approximately 5 million children in the US experiencing asthma, around 650,000 children under the age of 18 could be suffering asthma attacks due to gas stoves in their homes.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is considering regulating or banning gas stoves due to their pollution levels. A group of lawmakers, including U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have written a letter calling for the agency to set new performance standards for gas appliances and to educate the public on the dangers of cooking with gas.
However, the commission lacks resources, has a slow decision-making process, and is facing pressure from the gas industry. Additionally, low-income individuals and renters may lack options for replacing their gas stoves, though the Inflation Reduction Act provides a rebate of up to $840 for those who purchase new electric induction cooking appliances.
Some places, such as New York City, have banned gas hookups in new buildings as a way to transition away from fossil fuels, though other states have forbidden local authorities from doing so.
Where California Stands on Natural Gas
GV Wire has reported extensively on California’s plans to eliminate natural gas to heat homes and cook food.
New homes and buildings that are constructed in 2023 will have to have electric supply panels and circuitry to support all-electric appliances and heating under a building code update approved two years ago by the California Energy Commission.
The new building code doesn’t ban the sale of natural gas appliances outright — that will come in 2030, in a mandate from the California Air Resources Board that is designed to lower the “carbonization” of structures and improve indoor air quality.
Existing homes and buildings won’t be entirely off the electrical hook under the new building code. Those that undergo substantial upgrades also will be required to meet the new mandate.