Is your gas stove safe? See why new studies have some people concerned about the environmental and health damage from gas stoves.
Gas stoves have been cooking up dinner for decades—especially in states like California, New Jersey, New York, and Illinois, where they make up more than half of the cooking appliances.
But they aren't necessarily the best stoves for your health or the health of the environment, as multiple studies have shown that gas stoves produce nitrogen dioxide, methane, and volatile organic compounds, which can lead to an increased risk of developing asthma, cancer, and other chronic illnesses. (A recent study found that one out of every eight asthma cases in the U.S. may be linked to gas stove use.)
As for the environment, gas stoves in the U.S. release 200 million tons of methane each year—the same amount of pollution as half a million cars. And even when they're not in use, they emit methane.
If you love your gas stove, don't worry. No one is coming to your house to disconnect it yet—despite what some headlines may say. But new laws under consideration in New York and passed in California could prohibit gas appliances and furnaces in all new buildings to help reduce the environmental and health impacts.
Here's what you need to know about using gas stoves now, no matter if you're just looking to make it safer to use the one you have or you're thinking of switching over to electric.
How to Make Your Gas Stove Safer
There are ways to keep the air in your kitchen cleaner when you cook—without swapping out your gas stove. Try these tips from Wynne Armand, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and associate director of the MGH Center for the Environment and Health.
Run your exhaust fan every time you cook
Don't forget to turn on your exhaust fan when you're cooking, which can help vent gases out of your home. Note that this works best if you have a fan that vents to the outdoors.
Open your windows
Getting fresh air from the outside can help reduce the concentration of pollutants in your house. "The best thing to do is to open your window while using the stove to let fresh air into the kitchen and the house," says Ali Alhassani, MD, head of clinical at Summer Health. Even cracking your window open a few inches—especially if you open two windows on opposite ends of your home to create a cross breeze—can help keep fresh air flowing in.
Invest in an air purifier
HEPA air purifiers can help reduce pollutants in your air (along with allergens, bacteria, and viruses). Keep one in your kitchen, or even get a portable one you can use in your kitchen and bring to your bedroom or another space.
Find other ways to cook
There are a slew of other electric appliances you can use to cook your meals, from slow cookers to air fryers to rice cookers. When you can, consider moving your meal prep to an electrical appliance instead.
Switching From Gas Stoves to Electric Stoves
If you're ready to make the move to an electric or induction stove (which uses a magnetic current to produce heat), you may find that it's more affordable than ever to make the switch. The new Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) offers rebates of up to $840 for getting a new electric or induction stove, and up to $500 for any electrical work you need to have done to make the switch. (You may require a new 240-volt outlet to power your electric stove.)
"I think there’s a really high potential for the Inflation Reduction Act to help consumers make the choice to go electric," says Stephen Walls, a building and decarbonization advocate at the Natural Resource Defense Council. He points to induction cooktops as a potentially perfect replacement for gas stoves, as they're quick to boil water and heat up and cool down quickly. "The more people who have a chance to use induction, the more they will want to use it. The Inflation Reduction Act should help with this."
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