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Gas Cooking Health Impacts

About six out of every ten Australians use gas for cooking; this may be attributed to gas availability and its relatively low cost. However, there's been growing concern about the effect of gas cooking on the Australian populace in recent times.

This article will highlight the effect of gas cooking on people living with asthma. So, does gas cooking trigger asthma? And what other alternatives can people with asthma go for in place of gas? Find answers to these and more as you read along!

Is Cooking With Asthma Harmful?

Yes, it is not advisable to cook with asthma. Johns' Hopkins researchers have added a toxic gas produced by stoves to the list of indoor air pollutants that worsen asthma symptoms, especially in children. Nitrogen dioxide, a virulent form of nitrogen oxide gas, is found mainly in industrial areas. It is also found in homes with unvented gas stoves.

Hopkins researchers found that asthma flare-ups were directly linked to high NO2 levels in the inner-city homes they looked at. Researchers matched the frequency and severity of wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness to the NO2 levels in the homes of people living in these areas.

Is Asthma Linked To Cooking With Gas?

Gas cooktops and heaters are a substantial source of indoor air pollution. They affect the human body, particularly the respiratory system, and approximately half of all Australian homes use gas for cooking. Gas cooktops emit contaminants that contribute to the risk of asthma: nitrogen dioxide and specific types of particulate matter, such as PM2.5.

These emissions can irritate the respiratory tract and worsen asthma symptoms, just like other pollutants. These compounds are hard to see and smell, making it hard to find and identify them as a health hazard. The Climate Council has written a paper about the dangers of cooking with gas cooktops for people in Australia. They say that "a child exposed to household gas smoke has a similar risk of asthma."

Referencing a study which was published in the (MJA) Medical Journal of Australia by the University of Queensland, statistical analysis was used to predict the link between gas stoves and asthma. Nearly 13,000 families were included in the study, which focused on the impacts of by-products of gas cooking.

What Are The Effects Of Gas Cooking On Health?

Gas cooking has some adverse health implications. Since we spend more than 90% of our time inside, poor indoor air quality could significantly affect our health. The following are some of the most widespread ways that gas exposure can impair your health.


Research by the Climate Council shows that gas cooktops emit toxins known to raise the risk of asthma symptoms, such as nitrogen dioxide and fine particulates. With one in every nine Australians suffering from asthma, Australia now has one of the world's highest asthma rates.

Asthma is also the most significant source of illness burden among school-aged children, and it is one of the reasons why children visit emergency rooms or miss days of school. If you use a gas stove inside without enough ventilation, it has the same effect on your child's asthma as if your parents smoke.

Gas heaters that don't have an outside vent are known to produce a lot of indoor nitrogen dioxide, which can cause breathing problems and asthma in some people.

Neurological effects

A 2009 study of Spanish pre-schoolers discovered that exposure to indoor gas appliance pollution during the first three months of life was associated with lower overall cognitive, memory, and language scores at age four and an increased likelihood of ADHD symptoms.

There is growing concern about the detrimental neurodevelopmental effects of exposure to air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide produced by gas appliances on children.

Carbon monoxide exposure

Carbon monoxide emissions are generated in small amounts by most gas-burning appliances. Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide pile up in the air, usually resulting from an appliance malfunctioning.

This might result in health issues such as shortness of breath, nausea, confusion, headaches, and, in severe circumstances, death. Carbon monoxide is quite harmful because it is colourless, odourless, and tasteless, making it difficult to identify high levels of exposure until symptoms develop.

Two toddlers died in Shepparton, Victoria, following carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a malfunctioning gas heater in 2010. About seven years later, another adult lady died under a similar circumstance in Victoria.

What Is The Solution?

There is some link between gas stoves and asthma, although it is difficult to establish the extent to which this is true. So, what are some strategies for reducing exposure to gas stoves and their dangerous by-products?

Range hoods or exhaust fans remove pollutants and by-products from the kitchen. When set at the highest extraction level, range hoods can collect up to 75% of the particles and gases emitted during cooking, thereby preventing exposure to them in the first place. If all Australian homes had high-efficiency range hoods, childhood asthma caused by gas stoves could be cut down to 3% from 12% in kids.

This is one of the most critical findings from the University of Queensland's Medical Journal of Australia study! Why is there such a strong correlation between gas stoves and asthma if the cure is so straightforward? Only 44% of individuals really use their range hoods. Insulation has improved in its effectiveness throughout the years.

While your wallet may be pleased with the savings on the energy bill, your home is also more successful at storing toxins related to gas burners and much more. We can significantly lower the amount of indoor air pollution and gas stove by-products we're exposed to, which can help people with asthma. Installing high-efficiency range hoods in every home may be impractical.

But it is possible to increase natural ventilation in homes that use cooking gas. The best course of action for parents of children with asthma is to increase their awareness of the dangers of poor indoor air quality and to actually utilise their range hoods!  As a public health issue, we need to work to keep gas cooking outside of Australian homes, which will cut down on the incidences of asthma both in children and adults.

Make Your House Gas Pollutant Safe While Cooking

Begin with preventative steps if you cannot refurbish your kitchen and install a new stove. Mitigating risks by using modern extraction fans over stoves and flues for gas heaters and other safety precautions such as opening windows can help improve ventilation.

Switching to sustainable energy options is the healthiest and most environmentally friendly move you can make. Solar and wind energy is fast becoming more accessible in Australia as gas substitutes. Given that gas was initially offered to the public as a safer option than other, more dangerous fuels, there is no rationale why we cannot make the changeover now.

Be careful of carbon monoxide

One of the severe disadvantages of using a gas stove is that it releases dangerous carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide emissions are colourless and odourless, making it impossible to identify them until you are exposed.

Carbon monoxide exposure can cause and lead to many health challenges, including nausea, headaches, and vomiting. If you suffer from some of these symptoms while cooking, you are most certainly inhaling harmful carbon monoxide generated by your stove.

Investing in a carbon monoxide detector and deploying it in your kitchen is the best way to monitor this dangerous chemical and keep it from wreaking havoc on your health.

Watch out for gas leaks

Becoming observant and noticing even minor signals of potential disasters is critical to ensuring safety when using gas stoves. The main problem with gas stoves is that gas is very flammable and can cause severe fires. If you suspect gas leakage and you can smell it in the air, switch off the burners and do not turn them back on until the smell has been eradicated from your home.

If you keep having problems and think that the gas is leaking, check the burners, pipe connections, and gas cylinder. If you cannot locate and repair the leak, never use your gas stove until experts arrive to fix the problem.

Install a smoke alarm

Most newly constructed homes include smoke alarms and built-in fire protection devices. If your home was not acquired or built in the last few years, you might need to have these safety features installed because they're well worth the money.

A smoke alarm is an excellent way to avoid fires, particularly in the kitchen. If you occasionally cook for long periods to prepare food for a party or at a festive time, you likely leave the burner on for longer than necessary.

Hire gas fitting professionals

Do not hire inexperienced installers for gas appliances. It is a legal necessity that gas installation, service, repair, and maintenance be performed by a qualified and fully licensed gas fitter. Gas appliances and gas services can be dangerous if they aren't installed correctly and can cause damage to your home or even death.

Gas Servicing Is Key To Reducing Health Issues

It is best to avoid prolonged exposure to kitchens with gas cookers if you are an asthmatic patient. While it may be near impossible to totally do away with gas cookers, it is imperative to take the appropriate safety precautions when using this home appliance.

One of the areas you need to take seriously is regular maintenance of the cookers. It is recommended that gas cookers be serviced at least once a year by a certified gas fitter. If you notice any unusual signs on the cooker, do not hesitate to call a professional immediately.