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Are Gas Stoves Bad for Our Health?

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I love my gas stove. There’s nothing quite like cooking over that beautiful blue flame, so quickly adjusted with a flick of a dial and so suited to its purpose that when things are going well in life, we say we are “cooking with gas.” But in recent years environmentalists have been warning that gas stoves are bad for the climate and not so great for our health, either. Two new studies out this year have heightened health worries about noxious fumes in our kitchens. Is the evidence sufficient to alter our cooking habits? For me, the answer is yes—in some modest ways; others will want to judge for themselves.

Broadly speaking, there are two categories of concerning emissions related to gas stoves. First, there is the unburned natural gas that can escape before the flame ignites or leak from a gas hook-up. This gas is more than 90 percent methane. Second, there are the pollutants created by combustion when a burner is on, most notably nitrogen oxides, which can irritate the lungs.

The big surprise in one new study, conducted by environmental scientists at Stanford…

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