Gas stoves linked to childhood asthma in Mass.
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The percentage of children who get asthma from gas stoves is higher in Massachusetts than nationally, researchers found.
In this illustration, a gas flame burns under a pot on a gas stove. Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Massachusetts parents may want to explore different stove options in their homes.
A new study found that gas stoves cause 15.4% of childhood asthma cases in Massachusetts. The peer-reviewed study was co-authored by the Rocky Mountain Institute, a nonprofit organization focused on sustainability.
Researchers found that the percentage of children who develop asthma from gas stoves is higher in Massachusetts than nationally. According to the study, about 12.7% of current childhood asthma in the US is due to gas stove use.
While the percentage of childhood asthma due to gas stove use is relatively high in Massachusetts, the study finds it gets worse in some other states. Researchers found that 21.1% of childhood asthma cases in Illinois are due to gas stove use, compared to 20.1% in California and 18.8% in New York.
The results are “further evidence of why we need our regulators and our policymakers to protect us from these consumer products,” said Brady Seals, an executive at RMI The Boston Globe.
Some states had a lower percentage of children with asthma caused by gas stove use than the national average. Texas, Colorado and Ohio all had percentages around 10%. Florida had the lowest share at 3%.
“States with a higher percentage of children living in households with gas stoves have a higher proportion of current childhood asthma attributable to gas stove use,” the authors write in the study.
In Illinois, about 79.1% of households with children cook with gas, according to the study, while in Florida only about 9.1% of households with children use gas stoves.
“There are about 50 years of health studies showing an association between health effects like childhood asthma and gas stove fouling,” Seals said CBS. “More than half of households with children in Massachusetts cook with a gas stove.”
The link between gas stove use and childhood asthma is likely centered on nitrogen dioxide.
“One of the biggest concerns for us is nitrogen dioxide, which happens whenever you burn fuel,” Jon Levy of Boston University’s School of Public Health told CBS. “I think there will be an increased focus on interiors during the pandemic. We’ve known for a long time that nitrogen dioxide can trigger asthma attacks.”
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