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Natural gas stoves bad for your health??

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Me and my son have been livin with my parents since May. I believe me and my son have gotten sick almost every month since and it just seems really abnormal. So I have recently been evaluating/dissecting/removing every possible culprit.

He was a healthy robust boy when he was born and I am trying my hardest at making sure I provide my son with great nutrition and care so that he is as healthy as he can be, sun, rest, vitamins, probiotics, no sugar, wash hands, happy home, you name it. I know that there are many factors that can affect one's health that you don't have much control over such as genetics and daycare, allergies do run in our family but I am trying to rule out all of the variables that I do have some control over. And even still, I realize children get sick, it's just part of it.

I just feel this is a bit unusual for us and maybe something that can be alleviated and I want to figure out what it is...and since I remembered reading somewhere that gas stoves are bad for your health and then realizing that we probably use the gas stove much more than the average person(my mom cooks on a gas stove every single day for breakfast, lunch and dinner) I couldn't help but wonder...

So, I am curious to know if anyone has experienced a correlation with bad health and living in a house with a gas stove that was used frequently?
post #2 of 7
A few years ago, I moved into an apartment with an older gas stove. I could smell gas, so I had the gas company come check it out. They came with their meters and said everything was fine. However, I *could* smell the gas, and when I spent prolonged time in the kitchen I would get sick (shaky, nauseated, sometimes vomiting). Other people noticed how ill I looked at the time, so it wasn't just in my head. I ended up calling a plumber to turn off the gas, just to see if it would make a difference. The plumber told me that the older stoves deliver more gas than the pilot lights need, and the leftover gas is just vented into the air. This is within "safe" levels. Anyway, he turned off the gas, and miraculously, I wasn't sick anymore.

I just recently moved into a new place with a gas fireplace. I have noticed that when it's on, I get headaches and itchy eyes (I also get the same symptoms at my ILs when their gas fireplace is on, but it takes longer to happen. Their house is much bigger than our apartment). I turned off the gas here too - no more headaches or itchy eyes.

Both times I had carbon monoxide detectors. In the first apt, I think it got up to 15ppm one time, which is not enough to make anyone sick, and I wasn't even home at the time. Everyone says natural gas is safe, except for the explosion risk, but I don't believe it. Safe for most people, maybe. Not all.

I don't know the symptoms you are experiencing, but I would check the carbon monoxide levels first of all. Unlike most other gas appliances, stoves aren't usually vented, so if the stove is burning the gas inefficiently, there may be a carbon monoxide buildup. That would be easier to fix than being sensitive to a chemical that most people tolerate well.
post #3 of 7
I have no clue about natural gas. I would think that a mold problem would more likely be the cause of otherwise unexplained illnesses.
post #4 of 7
I haven't read of people having issues, but I have read a study that correlated gas stoves in the household with kids having issues, let me see if I can find something that discusses it....


This discussed it, it's not the actual study but he cites it at the bottom if you want to go read the original.

That said, we got a lot of plants to help mitigate the impact, a couple spider plants closer to the kitchen and about a half a dozen more plants in our living room (adjoining the kitchen/dining room), for a fairly small house (1450 sq ft).

I don't know why you moved in with your parents, if it's for a stressful reason, or the result is stressful, that's something to consider too.
post #5 of 7
Does your kitchen exhaust fan actually run the exhaust outside, or just filter it and blow it back into the kitchen? Every time you use your gas cooktop you should be running the exhaust fan (assuming it actually does go outside).

There is definitely a correlation between using a gas stove in an unvented kitchen and health concerns. I'm going to a building science conference next week and can get you more references then.
post #6 of 7
Natural gas ovens and ranges are safe IF vented properly... this means a fan vented to the outside, not a recirculating vent fan.

A gas oven can produce 200-300ppm of carbon monoxide in "normal" operation. This goes right into your kitchen, at the back of the range top. (pretty close to your face if you are cooking) A vent fan should always be used. With a gas range, the CO level is expected to be much less, but the vent fan should be used anyway, every time - to remove particulate matter from cooking from the household air. I have gas cooking in my home, I love it, but I do use the fan every time.

Unvented gas fireplaces (the kind you can buy today at a home center for a few hundred dollars) are IMHO a very bad idea. 100% of the combustion byproducts remain inside the home, including CO. If you read the instruction manual, it will say to open a window 2" during operation - this is to avoid lawsuits from CO poisoning. Unvented gas fireplaces should be removed from the home and destroyed.

I spoke with an energy auditor who had done lots of work with low income housing in PA - she found CO problems or gas leaks in about 50% of the (mostly rental) houses.

If you feel sick inside your house, and better outside, you need to call an HVAC service person asap, or your gas company. All houses with any combustion appliance or furnace should have a CO monitor in the living space and in the garage, if there is one.

Symptoms of CO poisoning include:
headaches, vertigo, and flu-like effects. At higher levels, depression, confusion, hallucinations http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_monoxide_poisoning

Mehokie - are you going to the RESNET conference?
post #7 of 7
Originally Posted by SleeplessMommy View Post
Mehokie - are you going to the RESNET conference?
I'll be there!
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