In a 2022 study by Stanford University (US), researchers reported health risks attributed to the residential use of gas stoves. The popular cooking devices are now under increased scrutiny following a controversial regulatory proposal from the US Department of Energy (DOE) that cited the Stanford research team’s findings.
Gas stoves are used in about 40% of US homes.
In its proposal, the DOE cited the Stanford team’s findings that gas stoves contribute methane emissions estimated to be “0.8 to 1.3 percent of gas consumption for active (cooking) mode due to incomplete combustion and post-meter leakage during active, standby, and off modes.”
The DOE proposal stated that Stanford researchers found 48 out of 53 gas ranges studied—including nearby associated piping—leaked methane continuously in standby mode.
The DOE estimated an annual health benefit (in economic terms) of $93.8 million if their suggested regulations are implemented. “The level of health benefits may also depend on the degree to which a household uses or has access to proper ventilation,” DOE said.
The Stanford team’s data suggest that families who do not use range hoods and/or have poor ventilation can surpass the US safety standard (100 parts per billion) for nitrogen oxides (NOx) “within a few minutes of stove usage, particularly in smaller kitchens.”
The Stanford study stated that methane emissions, co-emitted with health-damaging air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, may “trigger respiratory diseases.”