In the West, 12% of childhood asthma cases are caused by cooks. Research is still needed, according to the Liverpool professor.
Two recent studies blame cooking with gas for about 12% of childhood asthma cases in the US and Europe: provisional results are debated, particularly in relation to gas promotion in developing countries.
The first study, published last December in the International Journal of Environmental Studies and Public Health, estimates that 12.7% of childhood asthma cases in the US can be attributed to cooking gas, even as “we encourage developing countries to use this energy.” as an alternative to established harmful coal and wood.
“It’s like having a smoker living in your house”
“Using a gas stove is like having a smoker living in your home“, lead author Talor Gruenwald told AFP. This Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) study is based on a meta-analysis of 41 previous studies, along with US Census data, linking 12.3% of childhood asthma to these stoves in 2018. Mirroring the Australian study.Luckily, similar results in Europe were announced on Monday 9 January by Clasp, Respire and the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA).
The Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) has conducted laboratory tests and computer simulations and estimates that 12% of childhood asthma cases in the European Union are linked to this cooking method. In this report, commissioned by non-governmental organizations and not published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, nitrogen dioxide (NO) levels2) more than five days out of the maximum seven days set by the World Health Organization (WHO), i.e. 25 micrograms per cubic meter outdoors. And this in most cases (cooking mode and duration, ventilation, type of housing, etc.).
A high concentration of NO2 According to the WHO, it can cause various respiratory diseases in homes, including asthma. The Clasp association is conducting an experiment in 280 European kitchens (including 40 in France) in the hope of confirming these results. But for Tony Renucci, CEO of Respire, those numbers are already “a shock“.
In the US, where about 35% of kitchens run on gas (30% in the EU), this issue has been hotly debated for several weeks. Some, such as the US gas lobby AGA, rejected the results, calling them “a purely mathematical exercise to promote a cause that is scientifically nothing new“. But for Stanford University’s Rob Jackson, author of a study on methane pollution from gas furnaces (even when turned off, with a leak), they confirm “Dozens of other studies have found that breathing indoor air pollution can cause asthma“.
Further studies are needed
Daniel Pope, professor of public health at the University of Liverpool (UK), says he is extremely cautious. He believes that the link between asthma and gas stove pollution has not yet been conclusively proven and more research is needed. He himself has conducted ongoing research on the health effects of different fuels and has proven that gas cooking is “negligible effects compared to electricity for all aspects of health, including asthma“.
For this professor, these publications should not destroy efforts to encourage people to abandon cooking with wood and charcoal, which will kill 3.2 million people a year due to indoor air pollution, mainly in developing countries. A point joined by Brady Seals, director of the Rocky Mountain Institute. “Natural gas is better» compared to these other foods, «but not healthy» however.
The issue is being treated very seriously by US authorities: On Monday, Richard Trumka Jr., the head of the Consumer Safety Agency, said that new gas stoves are under review. “All options are on the table. Unsafe products may be banned“, he confidently told Bloomberg on Twitter.Already come there and remove gas stoves from every houseamerican