Restaurants Sue Berkeley
File photo, a gas-lit flame burns on a natural gas stove.

(The Center Square) – Do gas stoves cause respiratory problems?

A new comprehensive literature review, “The Effects of Cooking on Residential Indoor Air Quality: A Critical Review of the Literature with an Emphasis on the Use of Natural Gas Appliances”, conducted by Catalyst Environmental Solutions says they do not.

The analysis said natural gas is, “not a significant determinant of residential indoor air quality.” It noted that the food type is more important than the fuel used to cook it.

The report says that people should use proper ventilation when cooking to protect their health and consider other factors like the type of food, the oil used to cook the food, plus the temperature and time used to cook food.

The review looked at several peer-reviewed studies and government assessments. It said many are used in California and other states to falsely claim that gas stoves harm respiratory health. The analysis was paid for by the California Restaurant Association and the California Building Industry Association and was not funded by the appliance industry.

“As the analysis shows, many of these studies actually demonstrate that proper ventilation during gas or electric cooking is an effective way to ensure safety,” a press release promoting the study said.

The study comes as lawmakers across the country are proposing restrictions on natural gas stoves, ovens, and other appliances; the move would negatively impact consumers and businesses in California, according to the report.

“California’s world-class restaurants rely on gas cooking to prepare meals inspired by cuisines from around the world,” Jot Condie, President and CEO of the California Restaurant Association, said in the release. “We have expressed concern that misleading health claims about flame cooking could inform bad policies and harm California restaurants. Regulatory decisions need to be based on sound science, and this analysis shows – by reviewing decades of research – that natural gas cooking is safe and there is no credible evidence to support health claims against this essential element of California’s restaurant industry.” The CRA has sued Berkeley over its restrictions on gas appliances.

Dan Dunmoyer, President and CEO of the California Building Industry Association, added that putting restrictions on natural gas appliances, including stoves, would make homeownership less attainable for California residents.

“Increasing access to homeownership opportunities for all Californians requires sensible policies that balance concern for the environment with the cost, as well as consumer choice,” Dunmoyer said in the release. ”Natural gas appliances continue to be the top choice among home buyers, yet restrictions on natural gas access proposed by California municipalities are removing that choice. The science shows natural gas appliances pose no credible health risk with the required ventilation, and prohibiting these popular features in a home will only raise the cost of homeownership and put greater strain on an increasingly fragile electric grid.”

Additionally, Dr. Dan Tormey, president of Catalyst Environmental Solutions and chief author of the report, said the media has been misleading the public.

“Our review finds that the type of appliance used to cook food indoors – natural gas or electric – is not a significant determinant of indoor air quality,” Dr. Tormey said in the press release. “While recent media reports have suggested studies are increasingly showing a link between gas cooking and respiratory illnesses, our review of those and other studies does not support that narrative. We find the body of research on cooking and indoor air quality points toward the value of proper ventilation, regardless of whether an electric or gas stove is used.”