Background: There is evidence that people who use gas for cooking have reduced lung function and experience more respiratory symptoms than those who use other fuels for cooking.
Objectives: To study the effect of the presence of a gas cooker in the home, during both childhood and adulthood, on respiratory symptoms, allergic sensitization and ventilatory function among young adults.
Methods: A sample of 1449 young adults born in Britain 3-9 March 1958, who have been followed from birth to ages 7, 11, 16, 23 and 33 years, were examined at home at age 34-35 years. FEV1 and FVC were measured before and 20 min after inhalation of 400 microg salbutamol, and skin prick tests performed with three allergen extracts (grass, Der p 1 and cat). An interview on respiratory symptoms and indoor environmental exposures was included.
Results: No association was found between gas cooking in childhood or adulthood and incidence or prognosis of asthma/wheeze, allergic sensitization or current severity of respiratory symptoms. Subjects who currently used gas for cooking had a significantly reduced FEV1 (- 70 mL, 95% CI +/- 56) but not FVC (- 35 mL, 95% CI +/- 61) compared with those who used electricity for cooking. This reduction in FEV1 was concentrated among men and current asthmatics.
Conclusion: The use of gas for cooking is unlikely to be a major influence on respiratory morbidity in young adults.