Research Article

Association between gas cooking and respiratory disease in children.

Br Med J 1977; 2 doi: (Published 16 July 1977) Cite this as: Br Med J 1977;2:149
  1. R J Melia,
  2. C D Florey,
  3. D G Altman,
  4. A V Swan


    A four-year longitudinal study of the prevalence of respiratory symptoms and disease in schoolchildren and related environmental and socio-economic factors is in progress. We report results for the first year of this study (1973). A total of 5758 children aged 6 to 11 years from 28 randomly selected areas of England and Scotland were examined. In an analysis of the effects on health of possible indoor pollutants, boys and girls from homes in which gas was used for cooking were found to have more cough, "colds going to the chest", and bronchitis than children from homes where electricity was used. The girls also had more wheeze if their families used gas for cooking. This "cooking effect" appeared to be independent of the effects of age, social class, latitude, population density, family size, overcrowding, outdoor levels of smoke and sulphur dioxide and types of fuel used for heating. It was concluded that elevated levels of oxides of nitrogen arising from the combustion of gas might be the cause of the increased respiratory illness.