Should I say goodbye to gas stoves?

The gas stove produces polluting emissions in the home, which increases the risk of asthma in children living in it. If you have such a device, would you benefit from getting rid of it?

In the United States, the debate over gas stoves heated up when Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. said in an interview with Bloomberg that gas stoves are a “hidden danger.” “Any food that cannot be produced safely should be banned,” he said. Elected congressmen reacted strongly to these statements and stood up in defense of gas stoves, while accusing the Joe Biden administration of wanting to confiscate their kitchen appliance.

The commissioner was actually responding to the publication of the study, the results of which were published in mid-December in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. American and Australian researchers concluded that gas stoves, which release nitrogen dioxide during cooking, are a risk factor for 12.7% of cases of childhood asthma. However, the authors indicated that other factors, such as exposure to tobacco smoke, may also be taken into account.

The debate moved to Quebec. Environmental organizations such as the Quebec Association of Environmental Physicians, Greenpeace Canada, the David Suzuki Foundation and Vivre en ville are calling on Quebec to ban the installation of new gas stoves. They also want a parliamentary committee to take stock of the impact these devices have had on natural gas suppliers Énergir and Gazifere. So far, their requests have gone unanswered.

Reflection goes on in the municipalities

If the Quebec government does not intervene, the municipalities will become active. The city of Montreal wants buildings built on its site to become carbon neutral: new as early as 2025 and all by 2040. A public consultation took place last fall on this topic, and the use of gas stoves sparked a lively discussion. It remains to be seen what the elected officials who hosted this democratic event will recommend. Their report will be ready soon.

The city of Quebec indicates that it has not taken a position on the issue, nor has the city of Longueuil, which nonetheless claims to be following the public debate. This year, Ville de Laval will consider gas stoves when updating its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “With the removal of fuel oil systems to the area, reducing the use of natural gas is the next area the city wants to act on,” she notes in an email exchange.

In December, five municipalities – Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Otterburn-Park, Prevost, Petit-Saguenay and Saint-Coutbert – asked the Quebec government to “regulate the release of natural gas from buildings.” “In order to achieve our climate goals, we must quickly phase out fossil fuels in the built environment of Quebec,” they pleaded in an open letter published in Le Devoir.

Other compelling research

The study, published just before Christmas, was not the first to conclude that gas stoves can have harmful effects on human health. A meta-analysis published in 2013 in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that children who lived in a home with such a kitchen appliance were 42% more likely to have asthma, and even 15% more likely to have asthma throughout their lives. .

Last fall, the American Consumer Reports Association measured emissions from gas stoves. Test results indicate that carbon monoxide and fine particulate emissions are not hazardous according to standards set by Health Canada or the World Health Organization (the US agency, the Environmental Protection Agency, does not set standards for indoor emissions).

The situation was quite different for emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. Even if a household is exposed to these gases for short periods of time, they are “likely to cause health problems,” Consumer Reports notes.

But there is more. Even when gas stoves are not working, they release methane, according to a Stanford University study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology in January 2022. the authors of this study. They claim that over a 20-year period, annual methane emissions from US stoves are comparable to the carbon dioxide emissions of 500,000 cars.

Health Canada reassuring

However, Health Canada remains confident that the Canadian Consumer Product Safety Act is adequately protecting consumers who purchase gas stoves.

“Manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that their products are safe and comply with all mandatory requirements of the law,” the federal agency said in a statement. He adds that he provides some oversight, in particular by conducting compliance investigations and studies of products sold.

The Canadian Gas Association insists that gas stoves are “safe”. All gas-fired heating equipment and appliances, including stoves, comply with the strict installation codes and regulations set by the Canadian Standards Association,” the statement said.


Health Canada still notes on its website that gas stoves produce carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. Upon contact with it, people will cough or wheeze. Asthmatics and older people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are at higher risk for these complications.

To reduce these inconveniences, Health Canada recommends:

  • To operate the cooker hood during cooking, which directs the air outside
  • To use the rear burners of the stove
  • To open a window
  • Turn on the ventilation system at home

So is it worth it to change the gas stove to an electric one? The decision is yours.

See also: How to choose a hood

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