Health Advice



Making sure your natural-gas stove isn't toxic

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

There are more than 8 billion people in the world, and each one passes gas about 13 to 21 times a day, mostly odor-free, containing nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide and methane -- and sometimes smelly hydrogen sulfide. That's one form of natural gas.

The other is the natural gas that may power your stove, furnace or water heater. According to a study from Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, if it leaks out, it delivers varying levels of chemicals that are toxic, linked to cancer and can help form ozone and particulate matter. The researchers found 21 federally designated hazardous air pollutants in the 296 samples they took from folks' homes in the Boston area.

What does this mean for folks who love their gas stoves? You can opt for electric -- these days the burners are more responsive to temperature changes, and convection ovens are a great new tool. But if you are stuck with or sticking with gas, here's what the researchers suggest:

-- Get an in-home natural-gas leak detection survey by a professional to check that no small leaks are present. This check is more sensitive than the methane detector you should have in the kitchen and near your furnace 24/7/365.

-- In the kitchen, open windows and run an over-the-stove vent that sends exhaust outside.

-- Ask the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and state regulators to set performance standards for gas stoves. And lobby for legislation to set lower odor-detection levels so even the smallest gas leak can be identified.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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