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Gas Stove Are Here to Stay, but Are They Safe? Here's What You Need to Know

Earlier this week, the Department of Energy announced new energy-efficiency guidelines for gas and electric stoves that "make modest improvements." Approximately 97% of existing gas stoves on the market already meet the new standards, so they will have minimal impact on both consumers and kitchen appliance makers.  

The new measures, which go into effect in 2028, address the environmental impact of natural gas stove use (although it's unclear how much of an impact they will have) but do nothing to address the growing concerns over potential health risks associated with the popular large appliances. 

Are natural gas stoves safe? What can be done to protect yourself from harmful toxins caused by a leaky gas stove? We'll try to answer both questions to help you mitigate risk for your home and family. 

Are gas stoves safe?

While more research is needed, two recent studies have shown that natural gas stoves leak more than was previously known and that leaked gas poses a bigger long-term health threat, particularly to the respiratory health of children (more on that below). 

The conversation around gas stove safety reached a fever pitch in January 2023 when Richard Trumka, an official with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, hinted in an interview with Bloomberg that natural gas stoves could be banned if found to be dangerous. 

Trumka has since walked back the comments following a maelstrom of backlash. While the CPSC has not made any formal statements about natural gas stoves being unsafe, there is mounting evidence to the contrary. 

As many as 40% of stoves in the US run on natural gas. In its unburned state, natural gas contains harmful air toxins, including benzene, a chemical linked to cancer, and methane, which is harmful to the environment. In theory, natural gas' harmful toxins are eliminated during combustion, but last year's Harvard study proved stoves often leak the toxic unburned gas when not in use. The study also found that the odorants added to natural gas to help people detect leaks were done inconsistently, making it harder to catch a gas leak using your nose.

Another study from December 2022 showed that US homes with natural gas stoves had 13% more instances of childhood asthma. The number was even higher in certain states, including Illinois, New York and California.

A leaky gas stove is often more dangerous in winter

The dangers of gas stoves are heightened during colder months when most of us keep windows closed, making kitchens more difficult to ventilate. 

There are simple ways to prevent and detect dangerous air quality conditions and keep yourself safe. Adding a powerful fan, air purifier or both to the kitchen and running them when the stove is on will lower the chances of air quality becoming dangerously poor. 

How to protect yourself from natural gas

1. Keep your kitchen ventilated and always run the exhaust fan

Keeping kitchen windows cracked while cooking is the best defense against harmful toxins and poor air quality. 

Bruce Bisping/Getty Images

Keeping your kitchen well-ventilated, especially while cooking with gas, is one of the best defenses against gas leaks, airborne chemicals and toxins. Most kitchens have windows; if weather permits, always keep one open or cracked while cooking. 

During these colder months when cracking a window isn't always a viable option, you should consider adding a powerful fan to the kitchen that will help disperse concentrated air that may be harmful. 

You should also run the exhaust fan above your range whenever the oven burner or stove is on and keep it running for 20 minutes or so even after you're finished since nasty stuff such as benzene and carbon monoxide may still be lingering in the air. 

2. Monitor your kitchen's air quality

Airthings View Plus will monitor your air quality around the clock and alert you if things become dangerous.


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Arguably, even more important than kitchen ventilation is keeping tabs on your air quality, and several devices are designed to do just that. Adding a carbon monoxide detector is a good start, but most are limited in the toxins they detect. More advanced air quality monitors such as Airthings View Plus and Nest Protect will register other volatile organic compounds (the bad stuff) and sync with an app to alert you directly via your mobile device when air quality becomes dangerous. 

As a bonus, monitors like Airthings detect radon, an airborne carcinogen that occurs naturally as well as other harmful VOCs emitted from plastic wrapping materials, packaging and elsewhere.

3. Don't let the burner run without ignition

This one may seem obvious, but letting the gas run before lighting more than a second or two can emit harmful toxins into your kitchen. If your stove burners aren't igniting right away, you may want to have the stove inspected, repaired or replaced. Double check that all burners are switched off when you've finished cooking. 

4. Adding an air purifier can help, but it's not a fix-all

HEPA air purifiers will reduce volatile organic compounds but not eliminate them. They should be used in concert with other defenses against poor kitchen air quality.


HEPA air purifiers help to clean dirty air, and adding one can lower the risk of airborne toxins in the kitchen. There are several toxins in natural gas, including benzene and carbon monoxide, that air purifiers won't remove. Plopping one by the stove is by no means a panacea for poor kitchen air quality. HEPA air purifiers may reduce these harmful volatile organic compounds but they won't eliminate them. These products should be used in concert with other defenses and safeguards.

5. Have your gas stove checked for leaks

If you're concerned about your stove leaking gas, call the gas company and they will likely send someone to check free of charge. 

Brett Tyron

Last year's Harvard study shows that gas stoves leak far more when not in use than previously thought. Because this gas is unburned, it's particularly toxic if inhaled. If you're worried about how much gas is leaking from your stove, you can have it tested by a service person from your gas company or hire a professional.

This is particularly important if you ever smell gas in the kitchen. If you do, you can bet there is probably a gas leak, and you should vacate the home until the problem is identified. If you want to test for gas leaks yourself, you can buy a detector for about $24 on Amazon.

6. Switch to propane gas or an electric stove

Induction stovetops pose far lower risks than their natural gas counterparts.


This is the most surefire fix but also the most inconvenient and expensive solution. Switching to an electric stove or non-toxic propane fuel will mitigate the risks associated with natural gas. Even cooking with an electric stove can negatively affect air quality since burnt food and oils can release toxins into the air. It's a much lower risk than natural gas but is still reason enough to keep your kitchen ventilated and regularly test for air quality. 

Check out more CNET Home Tips including how to slash your monthly internet bill and the three places to never put a home security camera.

Your gas stove may cost less than an electric one to operate, but it releases chemicals that can harm your health -- and the environment.

Gas stoves run on a type of fossil fuel. The chemicals they release can trigger respiratory symptoms and illnesses, even when the appliance is off.

But switching to an electric stove may not be a simple solution. It costs money to equip your home to handle an electric stove (you may need to update electric sources and circuits). Even if you switch, your home still may use natural gas to power the electric stove -- that can be a downer if you want to change for environmental reasons. Some people prefer gas to electric because they believe it cooks better. Electric appliances can come with their own set of safety and health drawbacks.

Gas Stove Are Here to Stay, but Are They Safe? Here's What You Need to Know

Gas Stove Safety: What to Know

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