Massachusetts Medical Society Warns of Link Between Gas Stoves, Pediatric Asthma

WALTHAM — The Massachusetts Medical Society is concerned about the connection between household gas-stove use and pediatric asthma.

According to a 2019 study from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, Massachusetts is home to two of the 10 cities — Springfield and Boston — with the highest rates of asthma nationwide. Springfield was designated by the foundation as the “asthma capital” in 2019. Since about half of Massachusetts households use a gas stove to cook, simple public-health intervention has the potential to make a big difference.

A robust body of research has been quietly accumulating for 30 years pointing to the connection between pediatric asthma and natural-gas-stove use. Yet, according to retired CDC epidemiologist Dr. Steve Jones, “many physicians and even health departments do not know about this association.”

The Massachusetts Medical Society approved a policy to raise physician and public awareness of the connection between indoor air pollution from cooking with natural gas and pediatric asthma. The goal is to help disseminate this information — and the simple interventions that can help mitigate this risk — broadly among health professionals and the public.

“The problem is that few people recognize that cooking with gas creates indoor air pollution that increases the risk of childhood asthma,” said Dr. Regina LaRocque, associate professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, who co-authored the resolution turned policy.