In 1976, beloved fan, cookbook author, and television personality Julia Child returned to the WGBH-TV studios in Boston for new kitchen display, Julia Child & Companythese beating series The French Chef. Viewers may not know that Son’s new and improved kitchen studio, equipped with gas stoves, is paid for by the American Gas Association.
While this may seem like any corporate sponsorship, we now know that it is part of a calculated campaign by gas company executives to increase the use of gas stoves across the United States. And ovens are not the only solution. The gas company wants to grow its residential market, and the houses that use gas for cooking are also likely to use it heat and hot water.
The company’s efforts go well beyond careful product placement, such as new research from Non-profit Climate Research Institute, which analyzes corporate efforts to undermine climate science and slow the ongoing transition away from fossil fuels. As research center and a National Public Radio survey shows, when evidence emerged in the early 1970s about the health effects of indoor nitrogen dioxide exposure from gas stove use, the American Gas Association launched a campaign designed to cast doubt on existing science.
As a researcher you have studied air pollution for many years-including gas stoves’ contribution to indoor air pollution and health effects—I’m not crazy about the tactics some companies use to avoiding or delaying the procedure. But I was surprised to learn that the tactics associated with gas stoves directly mirror the tactics used by the tobacco industry. corruption and distortion of scientific evidence of the health risks associated with smoking began in the 1950s.
The gas company is based on Hill & Knowlton, the same public relations firm that masterminded the tobacco industry’s playbook for a response to research linking tobacco to lung cancer. Hill & Knowlton’s instructions included research sponsor who will challenge the findings about gas stoves published in scientific literature, emphasizing the uncertainty in these findings to foster artificial debate and participation in aggressive public relations efforts.
For example, a gas company collects and also analyzes data from An EPA study on Long Island showing more ventilation problems in homes with gas stoves. Their analysis concluded that there were no significant differences in respiratory outcomes.
The company also funded its own health studies in the early 1970s, which confirmed significant differences in nitrogen dioxide emissions but did not show significant differences in respiratory outcomes. These findings have been documented in publications where the company’s income is not disclosed. These decisions are expanded in various meetings and conferences and finally affect the important government reports that summarize the state of the literature.
This campaign was surprising, because the basics of how gas stoves affect indoor air pollution and respiratory health were straightforward and well established at the time. Burning fuel, including natural gas, produces nitrogen oxides: The air in Earth’s atmosphere is about 78 percent nitrogen and 21 percent oxygenand these gases form at high temperatures.
It is known as nitrogen dioxide infection affects respiratory health. Breathing it causes respiratory irritation and can worsen diseases such as asthma. This is one important reason why the US Environmental Protection Agency has established outdoor air quality standard for nitrogen dioxide in 1971.
No such standards exist for indoor air, but as the EPA now acknowledges, Exposure to nitrogen dioxide in the soil is also harmful.