Gas stoves can emit harmful pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide, into the air and irritate the airways. These pollutants may trigger asthma in some people who are sensitive to their effects.

Asthma is a chronic condition that causes inflammation in the airways. Burning gas can lead to the release of harmful byproducts that have the potential to cause inflammation in the airways.

While gas stoves can contribute to asthma development, other factors may also be at play. These factors can include having a family history of the condition. People can take measures to minimize their exposure to harmful emissions — for example, by properly maintaining stoves and ensuring they are well-vented.

Read on to learn more about gas stoves and their role in asthma.

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Scientists recognize that anything irritating the lungs and airways can contribute to asthma. Gas stoves release harmful substances. When gas burns, it creates the following byproducts:

  • nitrogen dioxide
  • carbon monoxide
  • formaldehyde

Exposure to these byproducts, especially high levels of nitrogen dioxide, can irritate the airways and potentially trigger asthma in some people.

Another factor to consider when using gas stoves is ventilation. Other things that burn gas in the home, such as a furnace or a gas fireplace, are always well-ventilated to the outside. When a person uses a gas stove, the byproducts of burning gas release into the home. These affect indoor air quality. Particularly, they can potentially cause harm to someone with asthma or someone with a high risk of developing asthma.

Research has shown connections between gas stove use and asthma. One study from 2022 suggested that gas stove use has an association with 12.7% of childhood asthma cases. The same study also found that the states in the U.S. with the highest number of gas stove users also have the highest rates of childhood asthma.

However, there is not one single cause of asthma. People who develop asthma often have a family history of the condition. According to the American Lung Association, people who have a parent with asthma are up to six times as likely to develop the condition.

Learn more about asthma triggers.

This is not a simple answer. Many factors may influence a person’s decision about using a gas stove. While gas stoves do release harmful substances that can irritate the lungs and airways, sensitivity to gas stove emissions varies for different people.

If a person possesses other risk factors for asthma, emitted substances can likely cause health problems. Using a gas stove may, therefore, increase their risk of developing asthma. Also, the pollutants can affect indoor air quality, triggering asthma exacerbations.

As mentioned above, a factor to consider is whether the gas stove has a vent to the outside. As well as carrying out gas stove maintenance, which involves inspecting gas stoves regularly, either personally or by a professional, a person should also consider the following:

  • opening a window when cooking, especially if there is no vented hood for the stove
  • switching to an electric or induction range when buying a new stove
  • using other appliances, such as microwaves or electric oven toasters, if practical

People concerned about gas stove emissions should speak with a healthcare professional.

People often develop asthma during childhood. It is not clear exactly why some people develop it and others do not. Asthma is an inflammatory condition in which the lungs and airways react to something in the environment. Anything harmful to the lungs and airways can potentially contribute to asthma.

Besides gas stove emissions, some of the environmental factors that have an association with asthma include:

  • Smoking: Babies and children who have exposure to cigarette smoke experience more asthma attacks than those in smoke-free homes. There are more than 7,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke, many of which are irritating to the lungs and airways.
  • Air pollution: There is a known association between air pollution and asthma flares. Research from 2019 looked at levels of nitrogen dioxide, one of the major air pollutants. Lower levels of nitrogen dioxide had an association with lower asthma rates in children.
  • Infections: There is a connection between recurring respiratory infections during childhood and the development of asthma.
  • Allergies: Asthma shares a connection with allergies. Both involve an exaggerated immune response to something in the environment, leading to lung inflammation.
  • Exposure to chemicals: Inhaling harmful chemicals may be dangerous and have severe consequences for the lungs.

Frequent exposure to air pollution is a known contributor to asthma. Gas stoves emit several harmful pollutants that can irritate the lungs and airways. Research has shown an association between gas stove emissions and asthma development, but other factors also play a role.

A person can take a few precautions to minimize their exposure to gas stove emissions, including properly maintaining stoves and ensuring they are well-vented. If anyone has any concerns about asthma risk due to gas stove emissions, they should contact their doctor.