Groups urge WA to warn about gas-burning health effects
Monday, December 4, 2023
The American Gas Association misled the public on the health effects of burning gas for decades. Now, a coalition wants the Washington State Department of Health to set the record straight.
Nineteen groups signed a letter to the agency calling for it to detail the public health impacts from burning gas in homes and buildings.
Past president of the Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility Mark Vosslier said his organization and others wrote the letter because the Department of Health has an important role in informing the public about health risks.
"Now that we know about the health risks of burning gas for heating and cooking," said Vosslier, "it makes perfect sense the department of Health can take an active role in shifting us away from unhealthy practices toward healthier practices."
The effect of burning gas inside homes, such as from gas stoves, includes a 42% increase in asthma symptoms among kids because of exposure to pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide.
The American Gas Association says gas ranges are a minor source of nitrogen dioxide.
The groups that signed the letter to the Department of Health note burning gas also impacts outdoor air quality.
Ruth Sawyer - climate and clean energy organizer with Sierra Club Washington - said cleaner alternatives are available, and the state has committed to a completely clean energy grid by 2040.
"There's a whole diversity of sources of renewable and clean energy," said Sawyer, "that the state is going to be investing in over the next many years to transition our electricity to be fully clean and renewable."
Vossler said we should no longer put people at risk by burning gas.
"Making an effort to reduce both indoor and outdoor pollution will save lives," said Vosslier.
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