Own a gas stove? Advice for parents and the rebate on the way

Restaurants Sue Berkeley
Posted at 6:44 PM, Jan 13, 2023

CLEVELAND — There was a lot of talk this week about gas stoves.

While some turned it into a political debate about banning the appliance, the issue at hand is new research that adds to a growing concern about the effects on our health — specifically, the air pollutants gas stoves emit and asthma in children.

It is estimated upwards of 40% of American homes use a gas stove. So, when parents or caregivers read the recent research that found about 12% of childhood asthma cases can be attributed to gas stove use, many probably wondered if they needed to rip theirs out, according to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

"It is important to remember that there are a lot of other things that increase the risk of developing asthma, and this is just one of those things," said Dr. Kristie Ross, chief of the division of pediatric pulmonology at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s.

She said cooking with gas can release chemicals that can irritate a child’s airways, like second-hand smoke and air pollution.

She said the concern is mostly for younger children.

"In general, we do think that younger children are at an increased risk whenever you breathe in something that’s irritating because they breathe faster and the amount of air they breathe in relative to the size of their lungs to their bodies is a little bit higher than as you get older," explained Ross. "Another thing to consider is usually asthma develops earlier in childhood. Most children who are going to have asthma develop it in the preschool timeframe or early school age.”

She said it often starts with a viral infection. There are inherited risk factors too, like a family history of asthma, eczema, and food or environmental allergies.

Where you live also plays a part in asthma. Ross said Cleveland is part of the industrial Midwest known as the Asthma Belt, and we see more cases of asthma in children here than elsewhere.

"The prevalence of asthma has been pretty steady over the last 20 to 30 years at around 10% to 12% of kids having asthma, but those rates are higher depending on where you live," Ross said. "So, anything we can do to help that out is something that we should consider.”

Warning signs for asthma that parents should look out for include a chronic or recurring cough, especially at night, Ross said.

"Or, when they're playing and running around and playing sports," she said. "When they get cold, viruses, they tend to get coughs that last longer than other kids. And you may hear a wheezing or whistling in their chest. Those are all things that should prompt a parent to talk with their child's pediatrician."

If a new electric or induction range is not in the budget, Ross said to utilize ventilation when cooking with gas, whether that’s using the fan in your range hood or opening a window.

Keep this in mind if you are looking to make the switch to electric or induction: There's a provision in the Inflation Reduction Act passed in 2022 that allocates funding for states to provide rebates for the purchase of new electric appliances.

News 5 reached out to the Ohio Department of Development, and a spokesperson said Ohio was allocated $124,150,970 for the High-Energy Electric Home Rebate, which will include point-of-sale rebates on appliances such as electric stoves, dryers, heat pump water heaters and insulation/air sealing measures.

They said the state does not have access to the funds yet and is awaiting U.S. Department of Energy guidance on administrative requirements.

Also, no timeline yet from DOE. However, in their announcement late last year, they mention they anticipate funding to states will be available by this spring and rebates will be available to the public later in the year.

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