gas stove with blue with orange flames

In late 2022, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that they would seek public comment on the hazards of gas stoves after recent studies linked pollutants from gas stoves to an increased risk of asthma and worsening respiratory conditions. 

GoldenbergLaw is currently investigating the link between gas stoves and childhood asthma. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with asthma or other serious respiratory disorders after long-term exposure to a gas stove, contact the Minneapolis toxic exposure attorneys at GoldenbergLaw today. 

Gas stoves are used in over 40 million U.S. residences, over one third of households, and can produce a number of hazardous chemicals as a byproduct of the burning of natural gas, including formaldehyde (CH2O) carbon monoxide (CO), nitric oxide (NO), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Gas stoves present an additional problem over other natural gas burning appliances because they lack an inbuilt way to vent the emissions outside the home. Instead, exhaust hoods are installed separately, which may vent any fumes outside the home, but more often simply pass the fumes through an activated charcoal filter. Regardless of the type of venting used, exhaust hoods are used in less than 40 percent of households with gas stoves.

The chemicals emitted from gas stoves are known irritants. NO2 is a respiratory irritant and exposure can lead to asthma, coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing, occasionally resulting in hospitalization. Children exposed to a long-term increase of 15 ppb NO2 indoors suffer a 20% increase in respiratory illness risk.

In a 2016 report on nitrogen oxides, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified a causal relationship between short-term exposure to NO2 concentrations within the range generated by gas stoves and adverse respiratory effects, including asthma exacerbation.

Gas stoves are also linked to heart issues, cancer, and other medical problems. While the US has no standard exposure guidelines for indoor exposure to NO2, the one-hour outdoor exposure standard was set by the EPA at 100 ppb. Gas stoves used without adequate indoor ventilation regularly exceed this standard. Gas stoves used without an exhaust hood will exceed that standard sixty-two percent of the time, with the use of an exhaust hood cutting that figure to twenty-six to thirty-six percent. The age and purchase price of the stove has no noticeable impact on the rate of emission.  

In addition, gas stoves produce particulate matter in far higher rates than electric stoves. Particulate matter is known to pose serious health effects, such as premature death in people with heart or lung disease, nonfatal heart attacks, irregular heartbeat, aggravated asthma, decreased lung function, and increased respiratory symptoms such as irritation of the airways, coughing or difficulty breathing.

In light of this information, over one hundred cities have taken steps to eliminate the installation of gas stoves in new developments. For example, New York City amended its building code in 2021 to require all-electric new construction in all buildings, with implementation beginning in 2024 for low-rise buildings and 2027 for taller buildings. California, the state with the highest number of gas stoves per capita, has elected to ban the sale of natural gas-fired furnaces and water heaters by 2030.

Most recently, this issue has drawn national attention following the CSPC’s interest in investigating and possibly enacting rules to limit the sale of gas stoves. This move was prompted by two recent studies: 

  • Methane and NOx Emissions from Natural Gas Stoves, Cooktops, and Ovens in Residential Homes measured methane emissions from stoves in 53 homes in seven California counties between January 2020 and May 2021. The homes studied included properties for both sale and rent, as well as Airbnb rentals. Eighteen different brands of stoves were measured, ranging between three and thirty years old. The study found that the NO and NO2 levels exceed the standard for outdoor emissions in every case, with emissions exceeding the standard 62 percent of the time when the gas stove was used without proper ventilation from an exhaust hood.
  • Population Attributable Fraction of Gas Stoves and Childhood Asthma in the United States was an epidemiological study to determine if household gas stove use was linked to childhood asthma in the US. While previous studies had already determined that gas stove use has a link to childhood cancer, this study set out to determine the effects on the population at large. The study was a meta-analysis of preexisting studies and relied on twenty-seven other studies on the topic to reach its conclusion. The study concluded that 12.7 percent of current childhood asthma in the US is attributable to gas stove use, which is similar to the childhood asthma burden attributed to secondhand smoke exposure. These results aligned with other studies that found that gas stove or oven use was the main risk factor for doctor-diagnosed asthma in US children under 6. 

Following the announcement of the CPSC’s investigation in to gas stoves, the media began to speculate on the possibility of a potential ban. On January 11th, the CPSC Chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric released a statement on behalf of the agency stating that that while research indicates that the emissions from gas stoves can be hazardous, the CPSC is not looking to ban gas stoves. 

The studies linked above are among many linking gas stoves to serious health conditions, particularly in children. Product manufacturers have a duty to conduct a risk/hazard analysis to ensure that any risks are designed away, guarded against, or if neither is feasible then to warn the public about any potential hazards.

Gas stoves have been manufactured for decades by some of the largest and most successful companies in the world. These companies have armies of talented people working in research and development to ensure the products they manufacture are safe. Did these manufacturers fail to do their due diligence when analyzing emissions risks from gas stoves? Or did they simply fail to warn the public of what they knew? The public deserves answers.

The Minnesota toxic exposure attorneys at GoldenbergLaw have over 35 years of experience representing individuals who have been injured by exposure to dangerous chemicals. We are currently reviewing these recent studies linking gas stoves to respiratory injuries and believe many Americans may be affected. Contact us today to learn more about protecting your rights.