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Sunday, 17 June, 2001, 23:17 GMT 00:17 UK
Teen health risk of gas cookers
The teenagers were quizzed on exposure to gas cookers
The teenagers were quizzed on exposure to gas cookers
Being exposed to a gas cooker can harm teenagers' lungs, a study has suggested.

Seven hundred Italian children aged 11 to 13 were asked how often they were in the kitchen when their mother was cooking.

The more time girls spent in the kitchen, the worse their lungs functioned.

But the girls who were worst affected also had high levels of a body chemical which indicates people are prone to allergies.


We found that the use of gas stoves has a harmful effect on the lung function of adolescents

Researchers - Catholic University, Rome
The scientists from the Catholic University in Rome say more work needs to be done to investigate the link.

UK lung health experts said the research added to a growing body of knowledge about a link between exposure to gas cookers and lung problems.

Allergies

The scientists tested the teenagers' lungs and levels of a body chemical which indicates allergic reaction.

Girls who had a high level of this chemical also had poor lung function

In the paper, published in the journal Thorax, the authors write: "We found that the use of gas stoves has a harmful effect on the lung function of adolescents.

"We suggest that kitchen emissions merit inspection and appropriate ventilation to protect lung health."

Over the last 14 years, scientists have been investigating the health effects of nitrogen dioxide, which is mainly produced by indoor gas appliances.

Studies looking at the gas's effects on children's lungs have had contradictory results, with some suggesting it had a detrimental effect, but others failing to confirm the finding.

But a link has been made between nitrogen oxide and adult lung problems.

A further study found women who had strong allergic reactions were at greater risk than whose who were not allergic.

Caution

Dr John Harvey, chairman of the external relations committee of the British Thoracic Society, said: "There is a growing link between exposure to gas cookers and lung problems and more research is urgently needed.

"All susceptible groups, such as adolescents prone to allergies and the elderly with respiratory problems, might take sensible precautions to reduce their exposure to gas fumes - such as using extractor fans and having adequate ventilation.

"It is also sensible to refrain from using gas cooker rings for heating the kitchen."

He warned that the dangers of indoor pollution had often been overlooked because of concerns over "outdoor" pollution, and called for more attention to be paid to them.

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See also:

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