Print Friendly and PDF
cigarette smoke toxics
Photo by lilartsy on Unsplash

Study compares gas stove fumes to secondhand cigarette smoke

1 min read

New York Times journalist Hiroko Tabuchi reports on a startling new study conducted by researchers at Stanford's Doerr School of Sustainability that concludes using a single gas-stove burner can lead to indoor concentrations of benzene, a known carcinogen, exceeding levels found in secondhand tobacco smoke.

In a nutshell:

The study measured benzene emissions from stoves in 87 single-family homes across California and Colorado and found that natural gas and propane stoves frequently emitted benzene concentrations surpassing health benchmarks set by public agencies like the World Health Organization. Shockingly, a third of the homes saw benzene levels exceeding those found in secondhand smoke. This research adds to the growing body of evidence highlighting the dangers of gas stoves, which emit myriad harmful pollutants even when not in use, and have been linked to health effects such as childhood asthma.

Key quote:

“I found it startling,” said Yannai Kashtan, the lead author of the study, “that concentrations that were enough to trigger a public outcry when they were detected outside are concentrations that we’ve found repeatedly inside, just from stoves in people’s homes.”

The big picture:

To combat climate change and protect health, a number of U.S. cities and states have moved to phase out gas stoves in residential buildings. Yet Tabuchi notes that phaseouts and restrictions on gas stoves have become politicized. Conservatives have seized on the issue as an example of government overreach, and last week House Republicans passed a bill restricting the use of federal funds to regulate gas stoves as hazardous. Benzene, which gas stoves produce when they burn methane, is categorized as a human carcinogen by the United Nations International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Read more at the New York Times.

About the author(s):

EHN Staff

Articles written and posted by staff at Environmental Health News

Become a donor
Today's top news
From our newsroom

Everyone is likely overexposed to BPA

If you're using plastic, you're likely above acceptable health safety levels.

Opinion: The global food system is failing small-scale farmers — here’s how to fix it

Maybe we don’t need Jamaican coffee in the middle of US winter.

LISTEN: Bruce Lanphear on how we’re failing to protect people from pesticides

Lanphear recently resigned as the co-chair of the Health Canada scientific advisory committee on pest control products.

How does cannabis impact developing brains?

As states increasingly legalize or decriminalize marijuana, some experts warn that early exposure may be linked to mental health problems later in life.

Agents of Change in Environmental Justice program accepting applications

Do you find that public voices in science are lacking diversity and want to help create change? We want to hear from you.