Effects of exposure to gas cooking in childhood and adulthood on respiratory symptoms, allergic sensitization and lung function in young British adults


Strachan Department of Public Health Sciences, St George's Hospital Medical School, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 0RE, UK.



There is evidence that people who use gas for cooking have reduced lung function and experience more respiratory symptoms than those who use other fuels for cooking.


To study the effect of the presence of a gas cooker in the home, during both childhood and adulthood, on respiratory symptoms, allergic sensitization and ventilatory function among young adults.


A sample of 1449 young adults born in Britain 3–9 March 1958, who have been followed from birth to ages 7, 11, 16, 23 and 33 years, were examined at home at age 34–35 years. FEV1 and FVC were measured before and 20 min after inhalation of 400 μg salbutamol, and skin prick tests performed with three allergen extracts (grass, Der p 1 and cat). An interview on respiratory symptoms and indoor environmental exposures was included.


No association was found between gas cooking in childhood or adulthood and incidence or prognosis of asthma/wheeze, allergic sensitization or current severity of respiratory symptoms. Subjects who currently used gas for cooking had a significantly reduced FEV1 (– 70 mL, 95% CI ± 56) but not FVC (– 35 mL, 95% CI ± 61) compared with those who used electricity for cooking. This reduction in FEV1 was concentrated among men and current asthmatics.


The use of gas for cooking is unlikely to be a major influence on respiratory morbidity in young adults.