Science

Asthma research sparks gas cooking controversy

Two recent studies blame gas cooking for being responsible for about 12% of childhood asthma in the United States and Europe: preliminary results that are being discussed, especially since gas use is being encouraged, especially in developing countries.

According to the first study, published in December in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 12.7% of childhood asthma in the United States can be attributed to cooking gas, even though developing countries are encouraged to use this energy as a source of energy. energy. an alternative to coal and wood with established hazards.

“Using a gas stove is very much like having a smoker living in your house,” study lead author Talor Grunwald told AFP.

This Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) study builds on a meta-analysis of 41 previous studies, combined with US Census data, and echoes a 2018 Australian study in which 12.3% of childhood asthma was attributed to these stoves.

Probability calendar, similar results in Europe were released on Monday by the associations Clasp, Respire and the European Public Health Alliance.

– Nitrogen dioxide –

Based on laboratory tests and computer simulations, the Netherlands Applied Research Organization (TNO) estimated that 12% of childhood asthma cases in the European Union are also associated with this cooking method.

This report, commissioned by an NGO and not published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, concludes that nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels exceed 5 days of the 7 maximum limits set by the World Health Organization (WHO), i.e. 25 mcg /cube meter outdoors. And this is in most cases (cooking modes and duration, ventilation, case type, etc.).

According to the WHO, high levels of NO2 in homes can lead to various respiratory diseases, including asthma.

The Clasp Association is experimenting with 280 European kitchens, including 40 in France, in hopes of confirming these results. But for Tony Renucci, CEO of Respire, the numbers are shocking.

– Additional Research –

In the US, where about 35% of kitchens run on gas (30% in the EU), this issue has been hotly debated for weeks.

Some, such as the US gas lobby AGA, dismissed the findings as “a purely mathematical exercise in advancing a cause with nothing scientifically new.”

But for Stanford University’s Rob Jackson, author of a study on methane pollution from gas stoves (even when they’re turned off due to leaks), they confirm “dozens of other studies that conclude that breathing polluted gas indoors can trigger asthma.” .

Daniel Pope, professor of public health at the University of Liverpool (UK), says he is extremely cautious. The link between asthma and pollution from gas stoves has not yet been definitively proven, and more research is needed, he said.

Leading an ongoing study of the health effects of various fuels, he concluded that gas cooking has “a negligible effect on all aspects of health, including asthma, compared to electricity.”

According to this professor, these publications should not negate efforts to encourage the population to stop cooking with wood and coal, which would cause 3.2 million deaths per year due to household air pollution, mainly in developing countries.

The point to which Brady Seals converges, director of the Rocky Mountain Institute. “Gas is definitely better” than these other cooking methods, “but it’s also unhealthy.”

The U.S. authorities are taking the matter very seriously, with Consumer Safety Administration chief Richard Trumka Jr. saying on Monday that new gas stoves are being tested.

“All options are on the table. Unsafe foods could be banned,” he told Bloomberg, tweeting that he “is not here to come and remove gas stoves from every American home.

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