January 29, 2023

Westside People

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Gas stoves are hazardous to health

Doctors and environmental lobby groups are calling on the government to ban Legault because of the health risks posed by gas stoves.

A few days ago, a survey Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health The gas stove added fuel to the fire of debate. We learn that 12.7% of asthma cases in children in the United States are linked to these devices.

“It doesn’t cause asthma, but it helps,” says Patricia Clermont, coordinator of the Quebec Association of Physicians for the Environment (AQME). It’s not just combustion-related emissions, he says. Pollutants are released even when the equipment is closed.

“Already in 2013, a meta-analysis found that children living in a home equipped with a gas stove were 42% more likely to experience asthma symptoms, and that’s a lot,” he continues.

AQME, which brings together a few hundred doctors, and six organisations, including Greenpeace and Écohabitation, are asking the government to adopt a regulation to ban the installation of gas appliances (including stoves and fireplaces) in new buildings.

Driven away by cities

In recent years, some US cities such as New York and Los Angeles have passed such laws. Last fall, California also became the first U.S. state to pass legislation banning the sale of gas-burning heaters by 2030.

The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, of which AQME is a member, asks the same.

“One in eight childhood asthma cases in the US is linked to indoor air pollution from gas stoves,” tweeted ACME President Dr. Melissa Lem. If there is not enough motivation to ventilate buildings and homes […] Across Canada, I wonder what it is. »

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Wrong information

AQME adds that it is not uncommon for the public to be poorly informed of the risks posed by gas producers, sellers and distributors such as Énergir.

“Effects are minimized and consumers, when they find out, feel cheated,” Ms. Clermont says.

“The group is calling for a parliamentary commission to shed light on what gas distributors know.

“For 30 years, there have been studies showing the risks and it is scandalous to know that they are playing with people’s health”, condemned Greenpeace’s Patrick Bonnin.

Energir recognizes “concerns”.

Despite touting the benefits of gas stoves, a major natural gas distributor in Quebec admits it has “concerns” about nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions from burning natural gas from these appliances.

” [Énergir] “Does not sell or advertise natural gas stoves,” emphasized Eileen Arsenault, the company’s media advisor, in an email. Register.

However, on the distributor’s site, you can read an article from 2019 that says “The natural gas stove will be a great accompaniment to your great meals” or “Prepare food on the natural gas stove. It was so sweet! »

In the comments section, Énergir responded to a person who said they wanted to buy this type of device, thanking them for the advice: “It makes us happy! “.

Another text qualifies commercial stoves as “excellent and indispensable.” These articles do not address health risks.

Adequate ventilation

Énergir advises its customers to follow “good practices”. “It is important to have a hood that not only filters, but is also capable of expelling molecules (CO2, CO and NO2) and with high ventilation to avoid any health effects”, we explain.

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It “significantly reduces all pollution caused by combustion. »

“When new natural gas equipment is installed, tests are performed by technicians to make sure everything is in good working order,” says Ms. Arsenault.

Adequate ventilation is essential regardless of the energy source, he says, while acknowledging that “electricity is the best energy source to completely eliminate these emissions.”

Less commonly used here

While Énergir acknowledges the “concerns” raised by the U.S. study, it recalls that electricity is used heavily in Quebec.

AQME’s Patricia Clermont agrees that gas stoves are used more by our neighbors, but they are gaining popularity here.

Gazifère, the gas distributor, says the safety of its customers and workers is a priority. “We were informed about this study last week and read it with great interest,” we were told.

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