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Childhood asthma linked to gas stoves; NY Heat Act gains traction

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  • Staff Report 

A new study reveals that gas-fired appliances, particularly gas stoves, could be significantly contributing to childhood asthma cases in New York.

The report, titled “Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking and Associated Gas and Oil Infrastructure, Ninth Edition, October 19, 2023”, was a collaborative effort by the Concerned Health Professionals of NY and Physicians for Social Responsibility. Drawing from peer-reviewed journals, investigative reports, and advocacy organizations, the study found that nearly 19% of childhood asthma incidents in New York are tied to gas stoves.

According to the report, homes using gas stoves have nitrogen dioxide concentrations between 50 to 400% higher than those with electric stoves, surpassing health guidelines. The situation is notably dire in smaller homes with insufficient ventilation, especially in areas with weak range hoods. Dr. Sandra Steingraber, co-founder of the Concerned Health Professionals of New York and lead author of the report, highlighted that many low-income households rely on gas stoves for heating due to unreliable heating systems or electrical outages, disproportionately affecting communities of color.

In light of these findings, advocates are rallying behind the NY Heat Act, which seeks to end the “100-foot-rule”, incentivizing gas installations near buildings. Estimates suggest this rule costs taxpayers roughly $200 million annually. While the act has cleared the Senate, it faces opposition, particularly from the Republican conference. Supporters of the legislation are now looking to its potential inclusion in the Governor’s 2024 budget proposal.