CHAPTER 3: WHY GET OFF GAS
Health benefits of getting off gas
It’s hard to see why anything that is called ‘natural’ can be harmful to us, and yet years of marketing to Australians has led to several misconceptions about gas.
Gas is far from clean; it is a polluting fossil fuel that is already harming our health, wellbeing and, of course, the climate. Emissions from natural gas occur from CO2 that is released during combustion, but also through methane leaked during gas production and distribution.
In Australia there are nearly 11 million homes, and around 70 per cent of them use gas. Gas appliances, such as unflued heaters, especially if they are old or poorly maintained, release methane (CH4), carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) into your home, polluting indoor air and endangering health. Homes with gas stoves contain 50 to 400 percent higher concentrations of NO2 than those with electric stoves.
Gas stoves and heaters can make indoor air up to five times dirtier than outdoor air, increasing the risks of respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses such as bronchitis and asthma, especially for children and the elderly. Children living in homes with gas stoves are 42% more likely to have asthma. In Australia cooking with gas is responsible for up to 12% of the burden of childhood asthma (even though only 37% of Australians have gas in their homes).
As more information comes out on the harmful impacts of gas in our homes, there hasn’t been a better time to make the shift to a cleaner, healthier and more affordable way to provide energy for the basics such as cooking, heating and hot water. As we make our homes more energy efficient it means we can save energy, without having to sacrifice our health, comfort or productivity.