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Gas stove safety tips after study links appliance to asthma: ‘A couple things you can do’

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Gas stove safety tips after study links appliance to asthma: ‘A couple things you can do’
They’re sleek, responsive and heat up fast, but at what cost? Gas stoves have become a hot topic since a recent report suggested they come with health risks. Teagan Rasche reports. – Jan 12, 2023

They’re sleek, responsive and heat up fast, but at what cost? Gas stoves have become a hot topic since a recent report suggested they come with health risks.

“We’ve known that there’s been an issue for quite a while,” Manitoba Lung Association President and CEO Neil Johnston said. “It hasn’t really been firmly identified to this degree until this study was done.”

A study published in December by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health showed a potential link between gas stove use and 12.7 per cent of current childhood asthma cases in the United States.

According to the study, the appliance can not only cause asthma, but make the condition worse.

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“The key molecule that’s causing these problems from the gas stove is the nitrogen dioxide which can cause not only lung problems but cardiovascular like heart and blood vessel problems,” Johnston said.

Click to play video: 'New controversy over safety of gas stoves in homes'
New controversy over safety of gas stoves in homes

Despite the new research, Winnipeg furniture stores aren’t seeing customers rush to replace their stoves.

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“Here in Winnipeg I would say our market is about 95 per cent electric and about five per cent gas,” said James Bain of Bain Appliances. “I know from talking to other people in other provinces, Alberta, B.C., they have a lot more gas, I’m not sure exactly but approximately 80 per cent gas.”

For those who do have gas stoves, Johnston says there’s no reason to panic.

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“I wouldn’t run to my kitchen and remove my gas stove right away.”

The reason gas stoves have a higher risk compared to other gas appliances is due to ventilation, and there are “a couple of things you can do,” said York University Department of Chemistry assistant professor Trevor VandenBoer.

“You can make sure that your range hood is on. First check that it does ventilate that air outdoors – lots of people have forehead greasers that recirculate the air back towards your face. Crack a window, crack a door if you can, and keep your burner on only for the time required.”

While gas stoves were once seen as a higher-end culinary appliance, it remains unclear what their future will look like.

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