Increasingly, we are finding that gas stoves are not only bad for the climate but also for our health. The gas industry has known for decades about the negative impacts of their products but prioritized profits over people every time. Late in 2022 a study was published showing that gas stoves can be attributed to almost 13% of all US childhood asthma cases. This revelation shocked the public and ignited the “gas stove wars”.

Closeup grey scale picture of a kettle on a gas stove with a bright blue gas flame
How gas utilities used tobacco tactics to avoid gas stove regulations

After evidence emerged in the 70s about the health effects of indoor nitrogen dioxide exposure from gas stove use, the American Gas Association launched a campaign designed to manufacture doubt about the existing science.

Study finds that Gas and Propane Combustion from Stoves Emits Benzene and Increases Indoor Air Pollution

A critical study has found that gas stoves emit significant amounts of benzene, a known carcinogen. Using a single gas hob for 45 minutes raised the levels this pollutant to levels to above that found in secondhand smoke. It was also found benzene migrats throughout houses- in some cases raising concentrations above chronic health benchmarks for hours after stove use.

Our coalition member Beyond Toxics released a study based on testing from  13 different homes in Eugene and Springfield for the presence of concerning levels of toxic indoor air pollution emitted by residential gas stoves. Read it here.

Beyond Toxics used an industry-standard optical gas imaging camera alongside a personal air quality monitor in homes ranging in size and age to determine levels of toxic gasses accumulating in kitchens while gas stoves were in use. Air monitor results found that using one burner on low heat for under five minutes, combined with preheating an oven to 350 degrees, resulted in harmful, sometimes hazardous nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels, plus other toxic chemicals in six of thirteen houses.

Population Attributable Fraction of Gas Stoves and Childhood Asthma in the United States

"We found that 12.7% (95% CI = 6.3–19.3%) of current childhood asthma in the US is attributable to gas stove use. The proportion of childhood asthma that could be theoretically prevented if gas stove use was not present (e.g., state-specific PAFs) varied by state (Illinois = 21.1%; California = 20.1%; New York = 18.8%; Massachusetts = 15.4%; Pennsylvania = 13.5%). Our results quantify the US public health burden attributed to gas stove use and childhood asthma."

Photo credit Nenad Stojkovic
induction cook top. black and sliver frying pan on front left burner with chopped vegetables and eggs inside. Cutting board and small knife to the left of the stove. Metal mocha pot on the back right burner.
Induction: Healthier, safer, cleaner

Induction stoves offer an alternative to gas cooking with a lot of amazing benefits. They use magnetic force which means they heat up quickly and give precise control over temperature. This affords many of the benefits associated with gas stove use without the health and safety risk- all while allowing you to decarbonize your home. Click the image to find out more general information about this great technology.

  • Healthier: Gas stoves introduce pollutants into the air such as methane, carbon monoxide, benzene, and nitrogen dioxides, along with others. Gas stoves, like other gas appliances, leak even when turned off and have been linked to health concerns including cardiovascular disease, stroke, childhood asthma and more. Induction avoids this and does not create volatile organic compounds when you turn it on (source).
  • Safer:  Induction doesn’t use flames or direct heat and avoids the need for a connection to an explosive gas line making it an inherently safer choice
  • Cleaner: The entire category of induction cooktops has received the EPA’s Energy Star Emerging Technology Award. Induction stoves achieved 85% efficiency compared with radiant electric which is 75-80% efficient, and gas a mear 32% efficient (source). They also avoid the release of methane and carbon dioxide associated with gas use in general.

Gas Stove Debate in the Media

The Fight Over Gas Stoves Vox Timeline

Vox reporter Rebecca Leber has been covering gas stoves and their climate and health effects since 2020. Find all the articles in a convenient timeline.