New findings have shown that gas stoves — even when turned off — may cause asthma in children and put adults at risk of cancer.
Dr. Jonathan Levy, an environmental health professor at Boston University, claimed the stoves may pollute the air with nitrogen dioxide, which can cause lung damage.
The pollutant, a “byproduct of fuel combustion,” is also the same that is produced on major highways, but since the kitchen is an enclosed space, it puts inhabitants at more risk. The size of the home and the quality of ventilation also play a part, Levy said.
Even when switched off, the stoves can emit chemicals like methane, which can cause rapid heartbeat and trouble breathing, and benzene, a chemical linked to different cancers. While researchers are unsure if the amount of benzene from a stove can be cancer-causing, continuous exposure worries experts.
“Nitrogen dioxide exposures in homes have been associated with more severe asthma and increased use of rescue inhalers in children,” Levy explained, per the Conversation. “This gas can also affect asthmatic adults, and it contributes to both the development and exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.”
In 2020, a report from the Rocky Mountain Institute found that the toxins emitted from stoves posed a health risk to the public, with the co-author Brady Seals calling them “invisible odorless pollutants.”