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Lung function and gas cooking stoves

ROME, ITALY. Italian researchers have found that girls who spend time in the kitchen while their mother is cooking on a gas stove tend to have impaired lung function. The study involved 702 boys and girls aged 11 to 13 years. The participants were categorized according to how often they were in the kitchen while the gas stove was in use (never, sometimes, often). They all underwent spirometric testing to measure lung function and skin prick testing to determine atopic (allergic) reactions. Blood samples were also analyzed to determine serum level of IgE (immunoglobulin E) another marker for allergy.

The researchers conclude that lung function (forced expiratory volume at 75 per cent of vital capacity) in boys is not affected by time spent in the kitchen. The reduction in lung function for girls who were present often or sometimes during stove usage was an average 11.1 per cent and 10.3 per cent respectively and was statistically significant. The reduction was limited to girls with a high level of IgE. The researchers also noticed that more boys than girls had asthma (10.6 per cent versus 3.7 per cent) and a positive skin prick test (29.7 per cent versus 22.8 per cent). They warn that exposure to gas cooking is harmful to girls with a high level of serum IgE and suggest that kitchens should be inspected and appropriate ventilation installed if needed.
Corbo, G.M., et al. Effect of gas cooking on lung function in adolescents: modifying role of sex and immunoglobulin E. Thorax, Vol. 56, July 2001, pp. 536-40

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