An ordinary household appliance – the gas stove – is now at the center of controversy related to health, the environment and politics.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission is raising concerns about gas stoves due to hazardous contaminants. A recent study was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health It suggests that more than 12 percent of childhood asthma cases can be traced to the use of gas.
“The most important thing is not what someone is talking about on Twitter, you know. It’s how we protect our health and our children’s health,” said Ben Hellerstein, a local Massachusetts resident.
Not everyone believes him.
“Is it really suggesting the right contribution? It’s unclear,” said Dr. Margie Louisias, an allergist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America.
She worries about stoves’ asthma rates, as well as the racial and economic impact.
“People are making potential changes, but not everyone has the capacity to do that,” she says.
One estimate puts gas furnaces in about 40% of all American homes. These new concerns come as states like Massachusetts seek to limit the burning of fossil fuels in new construction.
Ten Bay Area communities are now part of the pilot program.
“We need to look at how we can transition our stoves from gas stoves to electric technology like induction,” Hellerstein said.
There are incentives in Massachusetts for updating your gas furnace. The Mass Save program offers a $500 rebate for making the switch.