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This post discusses why natural gas and propane are major health risks, what leading detox experts are saying — as well as how to proceed: how best to cook our food, dry our clothes and heat our homes. As a gourmet cook who just finished remodeling our kitchen, I’ve been willing to apply these principles, because even though I love the performance of a gas or propane range, I can actually feel the difference in my health when I use electric.
I know some people want to hide … when they hear about one more thing they can do better for their health. So here’s the thing: It’s better to know; and then to do something about it when you’re ready. Ignorance is never the best route. Wait; and when you can and want to, then consider making a change.
Listen with pessimism, all gourmet cooks: Gas is not good, nor propane.
I mean, it’s really bad.
Whether for cooking, laundry, or heating, gas is harmful.
Electric or solar are the ways to go.
WHY IS GAS BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH?
Environmental illnesses are caused by breathing in natural gas, most frequently asthma in children and respiratory compromise in adults. If one’s lungs are already compromised, eliminating natural gas from the home becomes even more important. But prevention, too, is key.
Those with thyroid and detoxification issues are also adversely (especially) affected by petrochemicals, and should be especially careful.
What are the worst culprits? Well, yes, cook stoves are the worst, meaning your oven and stove top range. But any appliance that uses natural gas causes it to become airborne in your home: dryers, fireplaces, hot water heaters, furnaces and space heaters.
Think about a child’s room being heated with gas, especially if that child already has asthma.
Think about a woman cooking; (women have been found to be more susceptible to the harms of natural gas). As she leans over to pull food from the oven, or hovers over something on the stove top, she is breathing in the following cocktail of chemicals: methane, radon and other radioactive materials, BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene), organometallic compounds such as methylmercury organoarsenic and organolead, mercaptan odorants, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, organic compounds (including formaldehyde), fine particulates, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, among others.
And what’s worse? Natural gas and propane actually cling to your food. So we eat it, when our food is cooked by gas. And it clings to our clothing, when we use gas dryers; so it touches our skin.
We want to know about environmental toxins, as we try to heal our bodies or promote longevity. This is, therefore, a truth about which to be aware.
David Wimberly of the Natural Gas Health Information Coalition N.S. adds:
Gas combustion generates copious amounts of water vapour contributing to moulds, dust mites, viruses and bacteria, providing a transport mechanism for these and other respirable particulates and volatile organic compounds deep into the lungs and thus into the body.
An increase in airborne mold, dust mites, viruses and bacteria- all due to natural gas.
GETTING WELL/MAINTAINING WELLNESS = REMOVING ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS
Ben Lynch, N.D. is the nation’s MTHFR gene mutation specialist. He understands not just gene mutations but detoxification issues on a broader scale. An individual does not have to have an actual gene mutation to have the same or similar symptoms: problems with ushering out toxins from the body.
I am one such patient! I do not have the gene mutation. But I supplement with B vitamins because my body behaves as if I do. I need all the help I can get with detoxification (which is why I also use an infrared sauna, dry brush and take regular detox baths).
So what does Lynch say about gas? He has a strong opinion:
“Cook with electric stove and oven and remove gas stove and oven.”
ALTERNATIVES: How Best to Cook Your Food
Solar is the cleanest, best source of heat. Makes sense! But solar ovens are still awkward, unusual contraptions, that few would buy except for camping. I look forward to the further development of this technology.
Electric is next. It is disappointing that electric stoves are recommended, especially for those of us who love gourmet cooking and the quick receptivity, even cooking, and subtle variations of heat that gas allows.
Electric is so blah.
But, stiff upper lip! The fact is: we live in an imperfect world. We can’t have it all. For those who struggle with their health, breathing in and eating noxious gas is a definite impediment to healing and wellness! And since we switched to electric I have definitely adjusted!
The benefits of an electric range are as follows:
- Most electric stoves now have a glass or ceramic top, which makes them easy to clean for most spills.
- They are inexpensive to purchase and install.
- They offer additional storage below the oven, which gas stoves can not.
- While gas stove tops allow more precision, electric ovens are actually preferred by avid bakers, providing more uniform heat.
There are, of course, additional drawbacks to electric stoves, beyond the complaints of a gourmand:
- The glass top can stain easily; and some spills (such as sugar) are hard to get off if cooked on.
- Power outages render electric stoves inoperable.
- The electricity used to operate electric stoves is more expensive than the gas used with a natural gas range.
(Induction heat, by the way, is not safe. Powerwatch news says, “As very high EMFs are generated on purpose and these extend into the user, we cannot recommend this way of cooking.”)
WHAT IF YOU’RE STUCK WITH GAS?
Many of you who read this will feel stuck, right? You have gas and you can’t afford to replace it? What then? Wimberly advises thus:
For existing oil appliances (or gas or propane), isolate them from the shell of the building by enclosing them in a properly sized vapour tight space with dedicated direct outside air intake and an outside vent. Do this in addition to purchasing only direct outside air intake appliances with forced exhaust to a chimney above the roof line. Your local “experts” will say the enclosed space is redundant and that a side vent is fine, but don’t believe it. Be safe. The standards of safety for these appliances were not set considering the needs of those with environmental illness, nor do they take into effect the recent data on asthma and other respiratory illness. No venting system is at all effective enough for it to be safe to use gas for washers, driers, air conditioners, lighting, refrigerators, fireplaces, barbecues and most especially cook stoves.
So, if you can, create a large window or door where your gas source is. Or move your gas source to a very well ventilated location.
You may not save money directly with this exchange. But the healthcare costs more than make up for it.
WHAT IF YOU’RE READY TO SWITCH FROM GAS TO ELECTRIC?
Your kitchen will need to be installed with a 240-volt power supply.
Or, if you’re at all unconventional and frugal, (like I am), more and more families are turning to counter top burners and ovens. I believe this is the route we’ll choose. Even without plans for a tiny house, this approach is so practical and affordable! Hot plates have come a long way. There are a variety of styles and sizes from which to choose. (And I am thankful for a handy hubby who can build mine into the counter!)
How to heat your home?
There’s nothing like a well-built wood stove! Hydronics and radiant floors are also good, but more expensive.
What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them…unless, of course, you’re going to tell me you’d rather not have known. 😉
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