Gas stove link to child asthma

Geelong Advertiser - - NEWS - JANELLE MILES

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.

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