In 1976, popular chef, cookbook author, and television personality Julia Child returned to the studios of WGBH-TV in Boston. new cooking show, julia child & companyFollowing her hit series, french chef. Perhaps viewers will notice that Child’s new and improved kitchen studio, complete with gas stove, American Gas Association covers costs.
While this may look like corporate sponsorship, we now know it was part of a calculated campaign by gas industry executives. Increase the use of gas stoves across the United States. The stove wasn’t the only objective. The gas industry wants to grow the housing market, and households that use gas for cooking may also use gas for other purposes. heat and hot water.
According to , the industry’s efforts went far beyond careful product placement. new research from Nonprofit Climate Research Center, analyzes corporate efforts to undermine climate science and slow the ongoing transition away from fossil fuels.center research and National Public Radio Survey When evidence emerged in the early 1970s about the health effects of indoor nitrogen dioxide exposure from the use of gas stoves, the American Gas Association launched a campaign aimed at discrediting existing science.
As a researcher with I have been researching air pollution for many years.I’m not naive about the strategies some industries are taking – including the impact of gas stoves on indoor air pollution and health effects. avoid or delay regulation;. However, I was surprised to learn that the multifaceted strategy associated with gas stoves is a direct reflection of the tobacco industry’s previous strategy. undermine or distort scientific evidence Research into the health risks associated with smoking began in the 1950s.
The gas industry relied on the same public relations firm, Hill & Knowlton. masterminded the tobacco industry’s strategy For responding to research linking smoking and lung cancer.Hill & Knowltons Contains tactics It sponsored studies that countered the findings on gas stoves published in the scientific literature, emphasized the uncertainties of these findings in order to build artificial controversy, and carried out an aggressive public relations campaign.
For example, the gas industry captured and reanalyzed the following data: EPA investigation on Long Island The results showed that households with gas stoves had more respiratory problems. their reanalysis We concluded that there were no significant differences in respiratory outcomes.
The industry also funded its own health studies in the early 1970s that confirmed significant differences in nitrogen dioxide exposure, but not in respiratory disease outcomes.These findings were documented In publications where industry funding is not disclosed.. These conclusions were amplified at numerous conferences and conferences and ultimately influenced a major government report summarizing the state of the literature.
The campaign was notable because at the time, the basics of how gas stoves affected indoor air pollution and respiratory health were straightforward and well-established. Burning fuels, including natural gas, produces nitrogen oxides.the air in the earth’s atmosphere Approximately 78 percent nitrogen and 21 percent oxygenthese gases react at high temperatures.
Nitrogen dioxide is known to have the following effects: Negative impact on respiratory health. If inhaled, it can cause respiratory irritation and worsen conditions such as asthma. This is the main reason the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established outdoor air quality. 1971 Nitrogen Dioxide Standard.
No such standard exists for indoor air, but as currently recognized by the EPA: Exposure to nitrogen dioxide indoors is also harmful.
How harmful is indoor exposure?
A key question is whether exposure to nitrogen dioxide associated with gas stoves is large enough to cause health concerns. Levels vary from house to house, but scientific research shows that the simple answer is yes, especially if your house is small or poorly ventilated.
This has been known for a long time. for example, A 1998 study I co-authored showed that the presence of a gas stove was the strongest predictor of personal exposure to nitrogen dioxide. Studies dating back to the 1970s showed that having a gas stove increases indoor nitrogen dioxide levels. May be much higher than outdoor levels. Depending on ventilation levels, concentrations can reach: Levels known to contribute to health risks.
Despite this evidence, the gas industry’s campaign was largely successful. As I have seen during my career as a researcher, industry-funded studies have successfully muddied the waters and delayed further federal research and regulation into the safety of gas stoves.
The issue took on new life at the end of 2022, when researchers published a new study estimating that childhood asthma accounts for 12.7% of childhood asthma cases in the United States, or about 1 in 8 children.The cause was the gas stove.. The industry continues to Questioning the impact of gas stoves on health effects and Fund a gas stove promotion media campaign.
Climate and health concerns
Domestic gas use remains controversial today as it slows down the ongoing transition to renewable energy at a time when the impacts of climate change are severe. surprisingly obvious. Some cities have already relocated or are considering steps to do so. Gas stoves are prohibited in new construction. and Transition to building electrification.
As communities grapple with these issues, regulators, politicians and consumers need accurate information about the risks of gas stoves and other products in the home. While there is room for a lively debate considering the various evidence, I believe everyone has a right to know where their evidence comes from.
commercial interests in many industries, including alcohol, tobacco, and fossil fuels; Not necessarily compatible with public interest or human health. In my view, exposing the tactics used by vested interests to manipulate the public will make consumers and regulators smarter. Help prevent other industries from using your playbook.