Building a Fossil-Free Future
There are urgent health risks associated with the use of gas stoves in your home.
In February, Eugene City Councilors voted in favor of banning gas infrastructure in new low-rise residential construction in light of growing concerns about pollution.
VICTORY! Eugene City Council Advances Policy to Transition New Construction to All-Electric, Sets Ambitious Targets for Decarbonizing Existing Buildings (Read the Press Release)
On Monday, Feb. 6th, the Eugene City Council voted in favor of an ordinance banning new gas infrastructure in new low-rise residential construction in light of growing concerns about indoor air quality and pollution.
On the night of the vote, City Councilor Emily Semple said during the meeting, "I’m a chef, I like gas… I saw the pictures of what was coming out of my stove without turning it on, and I saw what happened when we turned on the oven. And it was astounding."
As cities across Oregon explore policies to transition new homes away from gas over health and climate concerns, we collected new video footage (see video above) that clearly shows the air pollution impacts from gas appliances. We made use of a high-sensitivity infrared camera, called FLIR.
The gas appliances installed in your home can emit air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter, which are harmful to human health if exposure levels are high. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are also common near gas stoves. Prolonged exposure to these pollutants can lead to respiratory problems, headaches, and eye, nose, and throat irritation.
Families lean over their gas stoves during every cooking activity, thereby exposing themselves to these poisonous gasses and pollutants right at the source. Their faces are only inches away from the highest concentration of gasses, which have been linked to asthma and other health impacts.
We're taking action
The footage shows a plume of dangerous air pollutants – invisible to the naked eye – wafting up from gas stoves and water heaters when they are in use. This plume of gases includes unburned methane and other hydrocarbons, ammonia, benzene, carbon monoxide and many more dangerous air pollutants linked to health harms.
The new footage from Beyond Toxics (featured in the video above) comes on the heels of a recent New York Times that discovered NW Natural, Oregon’s largest gas utility, paid a doctor linked to big tobacco to testify at a Multnomah County hearing about gas stove air pollution impacts.
Beyond Toxics used the FLIR camera to visualize emissions from gas appliances in the homes of city councilors Lyndsie Leach and Emily Semple, as well as other Eugene and Springfield residents.
Gas stoves and air pollution in the news
Going Up in Flames: Beyond Toxics Study Shows The Dangers of Gas Appliances, Eugene Weekly
Eugene First City in Oregon to Ban Natural Gas, Eugene Weekly
Eugene bans natural gas, other fossil fuel infrastructure in some new residential buildings, Register-Guard (PDF)
Read the Beyond Toxics press release
Read the Sierra Club press release
Gas stove makers have a pollution solution. They're just not using it
National Public Radio, February 4, 2023
What you need to know about gas stoves and health risks
National Public Radio, January 13, 2023
Population Attributable Fraction of Gas Stoves and Childhood Asthma in the United States
Talor Gruenwald 1, Brady A Seals 1, Luke D Knibbs 2 3, H Dean Hosgood 3rd 4
December study in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health:
Int J Environ Res Public Health
2022 Dec 21;20(1):75. doi: 10.3390/ijerph20010075.
Methane and NOx Emissions from Natural Gas Stoves, Cooktops, and Ovens in Residential Homes
Eric D. Lebel*, Colin J. Finnegan, Zutao Ouyang, and Robert B. Jackson
Environ. Sci. Technol. 2022, 56, 4, 2529–2539
Publication Date: January 27, 2022
Beyond Toxics is a member of Fossil Free Eugene and Lane County, a coalition of grassroots organizations and community members calling on the City of Eugene to follow through with the climate goals that it set for itself and lead a just transition away from fossil fuels for all of its residents. In 2014, the City of Eugene passed the Climate Recovery Ordinance (CRO) with bold targets to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels and prevent catastrophic climate change. Now, more than six years later, the City has done little to ensure that these goals are met. As the climate crisis continues to worsen and our local community is impacted by climate-driven wildfire and drought, it is time for the City to act.
The Fossil Free Eugene and Lane County Coalition seeks to prevent construction of new fracked gas (methane) infrastructure in buildings in the City of Eugene and develop an equitable and just framework and funding mechanism for transitioning existing buildings off of fracked gas in the near future. Coalition members are also working at the county level to attain similar goals toward transitioning off of fossil fuels.
More about the Fossil Free Eugene Coalition