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Australia: 20% of childhood asthma due to gas stoves and damp houses

A recent study by researchers at the University of Queensland has found that 20% of childhood asthma in Australia is associated with gas stoves and damp houses. The prevalence of asthma in Australia is among the highest in the world, and it’s a leading cause of illness in children.

Dr Luke Knibbs who led the study said: ““We found that 12% of childhood asthma is attributable to exposure to gas stoves used for cooking, and 8% is linked to household dampness,”

“Cooking with gas releases chemicals such as nitrogen dioxide and formaldehyde, which causes inflammation in the airways and exacerbates asthma.

“With 38 % of Australian homes using natural gas for stovetop cooking, this is a common problem.

“Using high-efficiency range-hoods could reduce the amount of childhood asthma associated with gas stoves from 12% to just 3 %.

“The preferred option is to make sure the range-hood is vented outdoors, rather than a hood that recirculates the air.

“Even in homes without a range-hood, opening windows during and after cooking can help reduce exposure.”

Dr Knibbs also said that Damp homes are quite common around Australia, and living in a damp home can adversely affect children’s lungs and that simple ways to reduce dampness include better ventilating houses with fresh air (using open windows when conditions allow), using room dehumidifiers, and limiting use of clothes dryers indoors.

“Most parents of children with asthma are aware of ways to minimise exposure to dust mites, pollen and animal hair through vacuuming and replacing carpets with hard flooring, but other indoor exposures are not as well recognised.

“The prevalence of asthma in Australia is among the highest in the world, and it’s a leading cause of illness in children.

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