I have never been one to cook with gas.
I grew up in a rural area where there was no methane infrastructure, so I learned to cook on a GE electric range. In adulthood, we have had electric stoves in the two houses we have owned.
I have had occasion to use gas ranges, in rental apartments or homes of family members, but I never liked them. I’m not a fan of flames in the kitchen and it often seemed impossible for there not to be small leaks of methane that I could smell because of the odor that is added to the gas.
When I became involved in the anti-fracking movement, I learned that not only do gas ranges leak methane which is detrimental to the climate but also other gases that are harmful to human health, such as radon and benzene.
I was, therefore, unsurprised at the release of a recent report attributing 12.7% of current cases of childhood asthma in the United States to the use of gas stoves. This is similar to the figure attributable to second-hand smoke exposure.
Nationally, gas stoves are used in 40% of homes, although in some states the percentage of use is much higher. For example, in California, the rate is 70%. That adds up to a lot of emissions of methane, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, benzene, radon, particulates, and other harmful substances.
Proper maintenance of equipment and increasing ventilation can help mitigate some of the health effects, but the best remedy is to switch to cooking with electricity. The faster and most energy-efficient electric cooking today is induction. For those who can’t afford to replace a gas cooktop with an induction one or who are renters, a good alternative is to buy a portable induction burner unit. You will need to use cookware that has iron in it but the nice thing is that the burner itself does not get hot, so there are no worries of burning yourself by touching the unit after you’re done cooking.
In order to make the transition to cooking with electricity, some places in the US have begun to ban gas hook-ups in new construction. In order to promote both human and environmental health, it’s likely that regulation will expand over time to eventually eliminate cooking with gas indoors.
Some people are very upset about it and complaining loudly in the press and on social media.
I invite those people to join the 21st century and give induction a try. Energy technologies and sources evolve over time. We used to use candles or whale oil for lighting our homes. We used to use wood or coal in our kitchens for cooking. We moved on to cleaner, healthier alternatives. It’s time to again move away from burning things in our homes for energy and onto using increasingly clean electricity to power our lives.
Join us for Linda’s Just Jot It January! Find out more here: https://lindaghill.com/2023/01/20/daily-prompt-jusjojan-the-20th-2023/