How bad are gas stoves for people with asthma? This issue has been debated recently in international media after American research claimed that one in eight children develop asthma from pollution produced by gas hobs. Similar research from Asthma Australia estimates gas stoves are responsible for 12% of childhood asthma.
When gas burns it produces air pollutants like nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and fine particulate matter. These pollutants worsen air quality and can trigger asthma flare-ups, as well as contributing to the development of asthma.
New Zealand does not have statistics on how much gas stoves contribute to asthma, but there is no doubt using unflued gas stoves or heaters impacts Kiwis’ respiratory health, says Otago University senior researcher Lucy Telfar-Barnard, who is also an advisor on the Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board. The risk is particularly high when unflued gas appliances are used in small spaces with no ventilation, where air pollutants can build up to high levels.
“If your child has asthma, and you have an unflued gas appliances, I would absolutely recommend exchanging them for flued or electric alternatives and I would certainly encourage people to use extractor fans,” she advises.
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