06:23, January 24, 2023
What if turning on your gas stove to heat your dish was harmful to the health of your children? While more than a third of households in France do their cooking by being connected to gas according to the Respire association, a study reveals that this method of cooking is responsible for around 12% of cases of childhood asthma in Europe. The cause is exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emitted during cooking with gas, which may trigger or worsen asthma.
We have known for a long time that “gas cookers are a risk factor for the onset of asthma, especially in women, who are more often the cooks in their homes”, specifies pneumo-pediatrician Jocelyne Just at the microphone of Europe 1. It is therefore not surprising for the latter that these new studies highlight a potential link between childhood asthma and cooking with gas. “The pollutants emitted by the gas, such as dioxide, irritate the airways and cause hyperreactivity of the bronchi which will trigger asthma” specifies the doctor.
“10 to 15% of children affected”
The youngest are particularly sensitive to it: “A child is a developing organism, these organs are immature, and if he is regularly exposed to sources of combustion such as the oven, for example”, he may encounter breathing difficulties in the future, details the pneumo-pediatrician. “The younger we are, the smaller we are, from fetus to newborn, from infant to child and adolescent, the more vulnerable and likely we are to develop asthma”. Important revelations while in France, “asthma affects 10 to 15% of children”, adds doctor Jocelyn Just.
The results of the recent study carried out by the Organization for Applied Scientific Research in the Netherlands (TNO) show that cooking with gas emits weekly pollution levels higher than the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO), i.e. 25 micrograms/m3.
Five days out of seven, our kitchens would contain levels of dioxide exceeding this threshold. And this, regardless of the cooking mode and duration, or the type of housing, warns Tony Renucci, general manager of Respire, an NGO that relays the study. “Very few people know that cooking with gas is a source of pollution and that it can be dangerous for their health and that of their children. It is also a culture shock. Cooking with gas is very popular in France, widely in the spotlight on cooking shows on television. It challenges our model of life and consumption a bit,” he explains.
To confirm this study, an experiment will be carried out in 280 European kitchens, including 40 in France, made up of at least one child per household. 32 gas kitchens and 8 electric kitchens to be able to compare. The results are expected in the summer of 2023.
I’m a journalist who covers health care news. I’ve been working in the news industry for more than 6 years. I have experience writing for print, online, and television. My work has been published by various news websites and magazines.