Do gas stoves cause asthma?
The idea for Consensus came from wanting instant answers to the question: ‘what does the science actually say about x,y,z?’
Today, we are attacking the topical question and asking, what does the research say about…
The relationship between gas stoves and asthma
The studies returned give very conflicting results with one another, read on to see our interpretation of the evidence!
Disclaimer: I am not an epidemiologist. However, I do read lots and lots of studies everyday.
What’s all the fuss about gas stoves?
People freaking out about gas stoves. Some are claiming they need to removed from all households due to their ability to inflict respiratory illness. While others say this another example of politically-driven, unwarranted hysteria.
Let’s start by checking out our brand new feature the Consensus Meter:
Overall, at the highest level, it is undoubtedly fair to say that the evidence is mixed.
Now let’s go a level deeper and dive into the studies and to see where the evidence nets out:
Meta Analysis reviewing 41 studies:
TLDR; across the studies they analyzed the authors found a ~33% risk increase for asthma associated with the use of gas stoves.
When looking at the study by study data, the findings are extremely varied, ranging from observed decreases in risk, to 200% increases. Netting out to a small positive association.
Systematic Review looking at 45 studies:
TLDR; some studies found a link between gas stoves and asthma, but the findings are very inconsistent (similar to what we saw in the above meta analysis) and a casual relationship cannot be concluded.
However, saying that gas stoves are risk free also cannot be concluded.
2007 study of children with asthma:
TLDR; they found an association between asthma and gas stoves in households. The finding was that this group of asthma patients had higher levels of NO2 in their houses than the national average.
Increased ventilation is recommended to help offset.
2003 analysis of ~500 patients with asthma:
TLDR; the authors found no relationship between the use gas stoves and respiratory issues
1996 study of a random sample of 2k survey respondents:
TLDR; the authors found an increased risk of respiratory issues in women associated with the usage of gas stoves.
However, they found no increased risk for men.
2012 study of 3.6k patients:
TLDR; the authors found no association between the use gas stoves and respiratory issues
The evidence is mixed. My read of the evidence, again not an epidemiologist, nets out that if the observed association across studies is so varied than the causal relationship between household stoves to asthma is likely on the weaker side.
However, it is known that NO2 exposure can cause respiratory issues, so in certain circumstances gas stoves probably can contribute to respiratory problems.
Assuming proper ventilation is used, it is unlikely gas stoves are a huge danger.