Monday, March 27, 2023

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Mobilizing Georgia voters in a non-election year is crucial for voting rights groups, Philadelphians over 50 will play a major role in the mayoral primary, and the EPA is finalizing a new air quality rule.

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Michigan becomes the first state in decades to repeal a "right to work" law, death penalty opponents say President Biden is not keeping campaign promises to halt federal executions, and more states move to weaken child labor protection laws.

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Finding childcare is a struggle everywhere, prompting North Carolina's Transylvania County to try a new approach. Maine is slowly building-out broadband access, but disagreements remain over whether local versus national companies should get the contracts, and specialty apps like "Farmers Dating" help those in small communities connect online.

Ventilation Key to Reducing Health Risks from Gas-Burning Stoves

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Monday, January 23, 2023   

The health risks associated with gas-burning stoves have caused a recent stir and unfounded fears of a government ban on the appliances, but researchers say those risks have been well-documented for decades.

Gas stoves are known to emit nitrogen dioxide and without proper ventilation, studies have shown indoor air pollution can worsen causing respiratory illnesses like asthma.

A recent study found 13% of childhood asthma cases are attributable to gas stove exposure. John Levy, Sc.D - public health professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Health at the Boston University School of Public Health - said the structure of a home will determine the risks.

"For many people, things like gas stoves could actually be their highest source of air pollution exposure," said Levy. "That itself is important."

Levy said operating a range hood that vents outside or even opening windows makes a big difference. Without proper ventilation, standards of exposure to nitrogen oxides from gas-burning stoves can be exceeded within just a few minutes.

Gas stoves are used in more than one third of homes nationwide, but not every household can easily swap out their appliances, especially renters and low-income households - where the majority of asthmatic children live.

Levy said studies have shown that improved ventilation in these homes pays for itself when it comes to asthma-related healthcare costs.

"And so if we're thinking about folks who maybe are on MassHealth or on Medicaid," said Levy, "this actually could be a wise government investment to try to reduce healthcare costs and health burdens."

The Inflation Reduction Act, passed in 2021, offers homeowners tax incentives for swapping out gas-stoves for electric induction versions - as well as other less energy-efficient appliances.

Levy said he would like to see the renewed focus on gas-stoves help improve building codes, especially in low-income housing developments.




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