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Household gas a major contributor to childhood asthma: Report


Paul Hayes


7/05/2021 2:25:33 PM

A new Climate Council report has found the use of gas in homes is exposing Australian children to a higher risk of asthma.

Gas burner
The report found a child living with gas cooking in the home faces a comparable risk living with a person who smokes.

Cooking with gas is estimated to be responsible for up to 12% of Australia’s childhood asthma burden, according to a new report from the Climate Council.
 
‘A child living with gas cooking in the home faces a comparable risk of asthma to a child living with household cigarette smoke,’ Climate Council spokesperson and report author Dr Kate Charlesworth said.
 
The report found gas commonly used for cooking and heating harms people’s health.
 
Given Australia’s high asthma rates and the fact ‘it is the leading cause of disease burden among school-aged children’, Asthma Australia CEO Michele Goldman is concerned by the report’s findings.
 
‘Some people will be shocked to learn that cooking dinner on a gas stove could be contributing to their child’s asthma symptoms,’ Ms Goldman said. ‘We need education to improve awareness for indoor air pollution.
 
‘People can take steps to reduce their risk by increasing ventilation, such as modern extraction fans over gas stoves, flues for gas heaters, and simple measures like opening windows.
 
‘However, this won't eliminate the risk completely.’
 
Dr Charlesworth compared the news to previous key health findings in Australia.
 
‘Just as doctors spoke up on the dangers of asbestos and tobacco in the past, we have a responsibility now to sound the alarm on the dangers of gas,’ she said.
 
‘Gas is both directly hazardous to our health and also as a fossil fuel. [It] drives climate change, which worsens health risks related to extreme weather such as heatwaves, bushfires and intense storms.’
 
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Dr Wakinyjan Catherine Tabart   13/05/2021 12:26:15 PM

I didn't think asthma was as common in countries in Asia where gas cookers are used all the time - maybe as they are often outside the enclosed areas, outdoor kitchens, maybe this causes less problems.


Dr Horst Paul Herb   14/05/2021 9:45:40 AM

The 12% comes from a single modelling study. While I support the abolition of fossil fuel burning, I feel the evidence for these claims (childhood asthma caused or triggered by nowadays gas cooking) is frail.