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Your gas-fueled home appliances aren’t good for your health, study finds

Replacing gas with electric appliances in California homes would prevent around 350 premature deaths each year and produce $3.5 billion in annual health benefits from cleaner air. This is according to new research from UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health for the Sierra Club on gas-fueled home appliances and their effect on air quality.

According to experts at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

Among appliances, gas cooktops and ovens affect indoor air quality the most, the study found, while outdoor air quality is most impacted by gas-fueled furnaces and water heaters that vent combustion gases to the outside.

The study states that when it comes to indoor air quality:

Gas appliances emit a wide range of air pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and formaldehyde, which have been linked to various acute and chronic health effects, including respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease, and premature death.

Yifang Zhu, lead researcher and UCLA Fielding School of Public Health Professor and Center for Occupational and Environmental Health faculty, said:

California’s state agencies often focus on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change impacts, but there has been much less focus on how fossil fuel use in household appliances can adversely impact indoor air quality and public health.

As Electrek reported on April 8, a Harvard study confirmed that there is a direct correlation between long-term exposure to air pollution and a higher coronavirus death rate, so this study is particularly important.

Electrek’s Take

Natural gas for stoves and water heaters is sold in my area as “clean.” The city even provides incentives to switch from electric to gas, and puts up signs around neighborhoods (with the words “clean energy” on them) encouraging residents to sign up for gas.

So do the gas companies know that this is a lie, or have they not been aware that cooking on gas is actually not very good for our health? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

I know a lot of people who prefer cooking on gas — for years, I preferred it to electric, as it gave me better control over the temperature. I also didn’t know any better. (Most restaurant kitchens use gas, do they not?) Then I got an induction cooker, which was fantastic, and now cook on electric. It’s great, as temperature control has improved. We can adapt.

In the current pandemic, we need our homes to be healthy and safe. This study shows that moving away from burning gas inside them would be the right thing to do.

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.