Most people know that gas leaks can cause carbon monoxide poisoning and deadly explosions, but gas appliances are also a health threat even without dangerous leaks. Like any fossil fuel, methane gas emits noxious fumes when burned. The resulting mix of nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) and other pollutants has serious health ramifications.
Children in homes with gas appliances have a 42% increased risk of developing asthma. Asthma rates in children living in homes with gas stoves are similar to those of children living with cigarette smokers. Gas stoves are responsible for 13% of all childhood asthma cases.
Children who are Black or low-income are disproportionately impacted by indoor air pollution. Children in Ward 8 are ten times more likely to go to the hospital because of an asthma attack than children in wealthier areas of DC. Black Americans are 55% more likely to die from causes related to pollution from fossil fuel burning appliances than white Americans.
Burning gas in our homes is also linked to heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, and diabetes. Leaky pipes and valves in gas stoves can emit methane and benzene—a known carcinogen—even when the stove is turned off.
Getting gas out of our homes is a matter of public health.