Two months ago I wrote a story asking the question, “How bad is my gas stove?” I admitted that I was initially skeptical of the panic over gas cooking given that stoves are responsible for such a small fraction of carbon emissions (0.12%). At that time, I feared that by attacking gas stoves — an appliance that is quite popular — the climate community would risk backlash and not be as effective at convincing people to get rid of their furnaces and water heaters, which are responsible for far more emissions than stoves.
But then I learned about the latest health research that suggests gas stoves increase the risk of respiratory illnesses like asthma. And so I decided to go into the rabbit hole of research on the link between indoor air pollution and human health. And boy did I go into the rabbit hole.
Over the last two months I’ve spent dozens of hours reading through academic papers and studies dating back to the 1970s. I read both the EPA and WHO’s reports and recommendations on indoor air quality. Then I read the papers they referenced and in the case of meta-analyses, I read the papers those papers referenced.