Indoor air pollution linked to childhood asthma

Posted 1/17/23

Should you be worried about indoor air quality?

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Indoor air pollution linked to childhood asthma


Should you be worried about indoor air quality?

In recent weeks, following the release of studies that found emissions from gas stoves could be connected with increased risk of asthma in children, some news reports alleged the federal government could ban the sale of gas stoves.

On Jan. 11, Consumer Protection Safety Commission Chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric released a statement clarifying the federal agency’s plans. “Over the past several days, there has been a lot of attention paid to gas stove emissions and to the Consumer Product Safety Commission,” he explained. “Research indicates the emissions form gas stoves can be hazardous and the CPSC is looking for ways to reduce related indoor air quality hazards. But to be clear, I am not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so.”

“CPSC is researching gas emissions in stoves and exploring new ways to address health risks. CPSC also is actively engaged in strengthening voluntary safety standards for gas stoves. And later this spring, we will be asking the public to provide us with information about gas stove emissions and potential solutions for reducing any associated risks.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website, “Indoor pollution sources that release gases or particles into the air are the primary cause of indoor air quality problems. Inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor air pollutants out of the area. High temperature and humidity levels can also increase concentrations of some pollutants.”

The EPA notes indoor air pollution sources include:

• Fuel-burning combustion appliances, such as gas stoves;
• Tobacco products;
• Building materials and furnishings such: as deteriorated asbestos-containing insulation; newly-installed flooring, upholstery or carpeting; and cabinetry or furniture made of certain processed wood products;
• Cleaning products;
• Central heating systems that burn fuel;
• Excess moisture;
• Outdoor pollutants that come indoors such as radon, pesticides and outdoor air pollution.

Recent studies have found gas stoves may significantly increase the risk for asthma in children. A study at Standford University tested gas stoves in 53 homes and found all the stoves leaked methane, even when turned off. The leaks equaled 76% of total methane gas emissions from the stoves. The study found the stoves also produce nitrogen dioxide.

If you have a gas stove, proper ventilation is important to reduce indoor pollution levels, according to the EPA. Exhaust fans should vent the exhaust outside. Fans that just filter exhaust are not as effective in reducing indoor pollution, the EPA warns.

air quality, gas stove