World Health Organization funded study finds gas stoves not associated with childhood or adult asthma

Heating and cooking with natural gas stoves is not associated with asthma in children or adults according to a recent major study published in The Lancet medical journal and funded by the World Health Organization (WHO). The study conducted an extensive meta-analysis and examined the health risks of cooking or heating with natural gas compared to other fuels and electricity. It found no significant association between natural gas and asthma, wheeze, cough or breathlessness, and a lower risk of bronchitis when compared to electricity. When compared to other household fuels including kerosene and solid fuels, natural gas was associated with a lower risk of several health conditions. The study’s conclusion that there is no association between the use of natural gas and asthma contradicts prior claims of population incidence of asthma attributable to gas, which are only valid where a causal relationship exists.

“For asthma, no significant increase in risk for children and adults was found for use of gas compared with electricity… We confirmed that that risk of asthma from gas use was potentially exaggerated in studies with no or limited adjustment for confounders versus those with adjustment for at least one key confounder. In addition, our analysis found no significant increase in risk of wheeze (similar in manifestation to asthma) for gas compared with electricity,” states the study by Puzzolo, et. Al. “This Article demonstrates a significantly lower risk for key health outcomes when switching from polluting solid fuels or kerosene to gaseous fuels for cooking or heating, suggesting cleaner fuels could contribute to reducing the global disease burden from exposure to household air pollution.”

“Natural gas has been one of the primary drivers for achieving environmental progress across the globe. From providing affordable energy to consumers to driving down emissions, the benefits this fuel has for our nation and our world are tangible. This industry continues to innovate and advance technologies to help ensure Americans have access to the safe, efficient and reliable energy they need and expect,” said AGA President and CEO Karen Harbert.

This study was funded by the World Health Organization and had no industry funders. Researchers at the University of Liverpool, Peking University and the World Health Organization, performed a large meta-analysis of the health impacts of natural gas to assess its viability as a healthy replacement for less-clean fuels in countries around the world. The study showed that natural gas was associated with lower risk of health issues compared to other common global fuels and, when compared to electricity, showed no significant association between natural gas use and asthma in children or adults.