Now we cook on gas Valley Notes | Moneeth Illavarasan

As I’ve started cooking more over the past few years, I’ve fallen in love with gas stoves. After years of using old electric stoves, I felt my eyes were really opened when I started cooking with gas.

Flame cooking allowed me to have tight control over the temperature along with visual and audible indications of the heat I was working with. The electric stoves I’ve used in the past took forever to get up to temperature and felt like they stayed at their maximum heat forever.

I finally understood why that phrase now we cook with gas symbolizes progress and efficiency.

I’ve heard rumblings in the past about gas stoves having some negative externalities, but I’ve always shrugged it off. However, they have been in the news a lot lately.

Cooking with natural gas has some environmental costs. Natural gas is a fossil fuel, and burning it releases carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which directly contribute to climate change.

If we look deeper, it turns out that gas stoves are responsible for 0.12% of all greenhouse gas emissions in America. That being said, it seems there are many things we can focus on that would have a bigger impact on climate change than gas stoves.

The only thing that got me thinking was the potential negative health effects of using gas in the home. Researchers have been studying and publishing the effects of using gas stoves in homes for decades. The big takeaway from many of these studies is that gas stoves produce dangerous levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is a leading cause of respiratory diseases like asthma.

A peer-reviewed study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health last year found that gas stoves in America’s kitchens are responsible for an estimated 12.7 percent of childhood asthma cases nationwide — on par with asthma risks in childhood related to exposure to secondhand smoke.

Another study conducted in California estimated that each year, California’s gas appliances and infrastructure emit the same amount of benzene as is emitted by nearly 60,000 cars. Long-term exposure to significant amounts of the chemical can increase the risk of blood disorders and certain cancers such as leukemia.

All these studies are really disappointing. I love gas stoves, but I can’t turn off the part of my brain that likes to listen to science. In the future, when my partner and I want to have children, it will be difficult to justify the use of gas stoves in our home. While the environmental costs seem minimal in the grand scheme of things, the potential risk to a child’s health seems like a bridge too far to cross.

Many regions around the world have come to a similar conclusion. In the United States, many states and cities are beginning to take steps to completely eliminate gas furnaces from new housing construction.

California, New York, Seattle, Massachusetts, and Vermont have set goals to aggressively reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As part of their plan, they have begun introducing incentives to encourage the switch from gas to electric appliances and phase out gas stoves from new home construction.

My partner’s parents recently got a new modern induction hob with loads of features. I used it for the first time last year and hated it.

I’ve been using it more since then and have come to have a grudging respect for the device. I don’t feel like one of the chefs from the movie Chef, but I can cook the dishes I love just fine. I won’t love the future transition to electric induction cooktops right away, but I’m sure I’ll live with it.

To encourage respectful and thoughtful discussion, commenting on stories is available to those who are registered users. If you are already a registered user and the comment form is not below, you must login. If you are not registered, you can do so here.

Please make sure your comments are correct, on topic and don’t disrespect another author. Don’t be nagging or belittling. All posts are subject to our TERMS OF USE and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

See our commenting registration requirement notice.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *