Asthma is one of the most common chronic conditions of childhood and, according to the CDC, it affects approximately 6.8 million children in the United States. There are many triggers for asthma, as we discussed in my previous blog Reducing Triggers in Pediatric Asthma. In addition to those triggers, new research is refocusing on the dangers of cooking with gas stoves that are not properly vented.
Research recently published in the journal Environmental Health noted significant associations between proper ventilation of gas stoves and incidence of asthma. In homes where proper ventilation is used, the children are 32% less likely to have asthma. When the gas stove is used for heating, with the proper ventilation, children were 44% less likely to have asthma. Children with existing asthma symptoms also had better lung function, less wheezing, and fewer episodes of bronchitis in homes that used proper ventilation.
While the prevalence of improperly vented gas stoves is not clear, it is estimated that almost half of American homes use gas stoves. If you have children in your home, whether they have asthma or not, it is important to make sure your gas stove has the proper ventilation. Many building codes will dictate that you have a hood with an exterior exhaust vent; but in older homes, that weren't required to meet these codes, there may be little or no ventilation at all.
If you live in an older home with improper venting, now is the time to do something about it. Installing a hood with exterior venting can be expensive but it is an investment in your family's health. When it's not possible to vent properly, you should at least be sure to open a window, use a fan or use a non-vented hood with a HEPA filter. When you use your gas stove safely, you can have delicious foods and healthy kids.
Published On: October 31, 2014