While many Americans might think illness linked to indoor cooking and heating is a problem confined to smoke-filled kitchens in the developing world, the natural gas-burning stoves and furnaces found in millions of US kitchens and basements can produce a range of health-damaging pollutants, including particulate matter (PM), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and formaldehyde. Over the past four decades, researchers have amassed a large body of scientific evidence linking the use of gas appliances, especially for cooking, with a higher risk of a range of respiratory problems and illnesses.
“There’s no question this has been a neglected issue,” said Jones, who has drawn on lessons from his long career in public health epidemiology and disease prevention in sounding the alarm throughout Massachusetts and with former CDC colleagues over the past few years. The first step, he said, is “letting people know what the risks are—particularly when they can be substantial, life-threatening risks that can kill kids.”
“The idea that our homes are more polluted than outdoors, even in cities,” Seals said, “is just a staggering fact.”
See Why experts are sounding the alarm about the hidden dangers of gas stoves
Covid-19 has drawn new attention to indoor air pollution. Science has long considered gas appliances to be key culprits.