Gas stove link to child asthma
COOKING with gas stoves is responsible for an estimated 12 per cent of childhood asthma in Australia, a Queensland researcher says.
Environmental health scientist Luke Knibbs, of the University of Queensland, led research which investigated the connection between childhood asthma and two common indoor exposures – gas stoves and damp houses.
Researchers calculated that about 12 per cent of childhood asthma in Australia could be attributed to gas stove exposure and an 8 per cent to household dampness.
“I don’t think that there is the same level of awareness for the link between gas appliances and asthma as there is for damp housing,” Dr Knibbs said.
His research, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, cited Australian Bureau of Statistics data that four in 10 Australian homes used natural gas as the main energy source for cooktop stoves.
He said cooking with gas released chemicals, such as nitrogen dioxide and formaldehyde, which could cause inflammation in the airways and exacerbate asthma.
But the researchers found the amount of childhood asthma linked to gas cooking could be cut from 12 per cent to 3 per cent if all homes with gas stoves were fitted with highefficiency rangehoods to vent emissions outdoors.
In cases, such as townhouses, where it was not feasible to have a rangehood which vented emissions outside, they suggested keeping windows open when cooking to reduce exposure.
Dr Knibbs called for a national strategy to increase awareness of indoor environmental exposures.
The study was partly funded by the Centre for Air Pollution, Health and Energy Research.