(Last Updated On: April 27, 2023)

Gas Stoves and Indoor Air Quality

By Becky Dotson & Keegan Bradford

7 min read

If you’ve ever cooked on a gas stove then you’re well aware of the benefits. You can quickly change between temperatures, from warm to boiling hot. Gas can be cheaper than using electricity, and works better with many different types of pots and pans.

Gas Stoves and Indoor Air Quality

Why is the U.S. Government Considering Banning Gas Stoves?

With all the benefits gas stoves can offer, why would there be talk of banning them? The conversation started in early January 2023 when Richard Trumka, Jr., a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commissioner, said in an interview that gas stoves posed a “hidden hazard” and suggested they could be banned by the agency.

Stoves that run on natural gas can send unsafe levels of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and fine particulate matter into the air. Depending on your health, breathing in those things can cause a quick respiratory reaction. Breathing in those things over time can lead to cancer, cardiovascular problems and respiratory illnesses. In fact, a recent study by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health attributes more than 12% of current asthma cases in children to the use of gas stoves.

For those reasons, Trumka mentioned banning gas stoves as an option. This suggestion has created quite a political uproar. To be clear, there isn’t a plan now (and there never was) to take your existing gas stove from your home. What the Consumer Products Safety Commission is doing is researching the health risks from gas stove emissions and looking at ways to make the stoves safer. They plan to seek public input on the topic in the spring of 2023. And if any action is taken, it would take a year or more for regulations to be put into place and it would only apply to new gas stoves, not existing ones.

The state of California had concerns about gas stoves as far back as 2001. Studies were conducted then by the California Air Research Board (CARB). The CARB is a governor-appointed, state Senate-approved board tasked with researching and studying the air quality in California and recommending ways to improve it. Their research found gas stoves emit harmful levels of a pollutant known to cause asthma. It also found that gas stoves, even when they’re off, can often leak benzene, which is a known cause for cancer.

Sources of Air Pollution

While there has been much talk lately about gas stoves, they aren’t the only potential polluters in your home. Cooking food on a propane stove can release the same type of pollutants as natural gas can. Cooking on a wood stove or using a fireplace can send high levels of indoor pollution from the wood smoke into the air. But even if you’re using electricity, heating oil, fat and other food ingredients at high temperatures can generate unhealthy air.

Gas and electric ovens can send pollutants into the air, as well—especially if you’re using the self-cleaning modes. As the oven burns off food waste it can create air pollution. But it’s not just cooking appliances. There are so many things we use inside our homes that can create indoor air pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says these things can cause a build-up of harmful contaminants indoors:

  • Building materials
  • Cabinets or furniture made of certain pressed wood products
  • Central heat and air units
  • Cleaning products
  • Excessive moisture
  • Hobby and maintenance supplies
  • Inadequate ventilation
  • Newly installed carpet, flooring or upholstery
  • Tobacco products

Sometimes the effects of indoor air pollution can happen immediately. You may get dizzy, develop a headache, become tired or have your eyes, nose and throat get irritated depending on your age, individual sensitivity or if you have a pre-existing condition. If you have asthma, it may aggravate your condition or trigger an attack. Over time, repeated exposure can lead to cancer, heart disease and respiratory illnesses.

How To Fight Indoor Air Pollution

If you’re cooking, one easy way to fight the emissions being given off is to turn on the fan above your stovetop. It will help pull the harmful pollutants out of the air. It’s also important to make sure the range hood vents to the outside and cook on the back burners as often as possible since the hood will exhaust the back part of the stove top more effectively.

If you don’t have a range hood, you can turn on a fan while you’re cooking or open the windows to help improve the airflow. Running fans and opening windows in your home whenever you can are both good ideas, in general, to curb indoor air pollution from any source.

But the most effective way to improve the air quality inside your home is to invest in an air purifier. Air purifiers are designed to run 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and they pull the smallest particles out of the air, forcing clean, purified air back out. These units run with HEPA filters which pull up to 99.97 percent of the impurities out of the air. One to consider is the Alen BreatheSmart 75i. It cleans up to 1300 square feet every 30 minutes and runs with a true HEPA filter. It’s equipped with a particle sensor that can let you know the air quality inside in real time. And it will adjust accordingly to clean the air. The unit is whisper quiet, will cost between $700 and $800 and comes with a lifetime warranty.


If the debate over gas stoves has done anything, it has made us all reconsider the air quality inside our homes. Since our homes are our safe spaces, we don’t often think of the dangers floating around in the air inside. But because of many factors, the air inside our homes may not be the cleanest, purest or most breathable. And breathing in those harmful pollutants can lead to problems in the short- and long-term. It’s important to keep that in mind, and take steps to help protect yourself and your family.

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