If you’re cooking with gas, maybe it’s time to reconsider Eco News | Western Advocate

FOSSIL fuel industries scored a coup many years ago by widely using the term “natural gas”. It is not “natural”, but highly toxic, highly polluting methane that at every step threatens our health, particularly children, and the future of our planet. Cooking with a gas stove releases the same toxic mix of fumes as a car exhaust. If those fumes are not vented outside, they linger and sneak into our lungs. On the air quality front, the evidence against gas stoves is damning. Cooking any food produces particulate pollutants, but burning gas produces nitrogen dioxide, or NO2, and carbon dioxide. Exposure to air with high concentrations of NO2 can lead to coughing, wheezing and worsening of asthma and other lung conditions. There is also some evidence of prolonged exposure causing some lung diseases. Children are particularly at risk. They breathe more rapidly than adults, have a higher ratio of lung surface area to body weight, and have immature respiratory and immune systems. Homes with gas stoves can contain up to 400 percent higher concentrations of NO2 than homes with electric stoves, often resulting in levels of indoor air pollution that would be illegal outdoors. NO2 is invisible and odorless, which is one of the reasons it has gone unnoticed. Australia has no indoor air quality benchmarks. Canada and California have set limits, and are now leading the charge to moving to all-electric building codes. In Australia, the ACT is leading the way, excluding gas from all new housing developments, mandating that they be all electric, and providing incentives for existing dwellings to stop using gas. If a gas stove is used, it should have an externally vented exhaust fan, and always have adequate ventilation with a window open. Modern electric stoves, induction cooktops, reverse cycle heating and cooling are very efficient, with electricity preferably sourced from renewables. If building a new home, make it all electric. If you have a gas stove, plan to change it. If you can’t change, ensure adequate ventilation. If you have an old internally flued gas space heater, don’t use it, and change your gas hot water to heat exchanger. Source your electricity from renewables; install household solar. Bathurst must, like the ACT, mandate that all new homes and housing estates be gas free, all electric. Leave the gas where it belongs – under the ground.


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