Gas cooking, kitchen ventilation, and asthma, allergic symptoms and sensitization in young children – the PIAMA study

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Abstract

Background

Several studies reported inconsistent associations between using gas for cooking and respiratory symptoms or lung function in children. Kitchen ventilation characteristics may modify the relationship between gas cooking and respiratory health. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of kitchen ventilation (while cooking) on the relationship between gas cooking, combustion product dispersal, and respiratory and allergic outcomes in children.

Methods

Data on respiratory and allergic symptoms and diagnoses were collected by yearly questionnaires in a population of over 3000 children participating in a birth cohort study on development of allergy and asthma. At 4 years of age, a sub-sample of 647 children provided blood samples for antibody testing. Data on gas cooking and kitchen ventilation were collected when the children were 5 years old. Based on these data a model was constructed to determine the chance of accumulation of combustion products (CACP) in the kitchen.

Results

No relationship was found between gas cooking and any of the respiratory or allergy outcomes except nasal symptoms. The overall results did not change when the ‘CACP’ was used as exposure variable instead, while the association for nasal symptoms decreased to borderline significance.

Conclusion

Our results suggest that gas cooking per se is associated with nasal symptoms in young children and not with the other respiratory symptoms that were investigated. Taking kitchen ventilation characteristics into account did not lead to different conclusions in this population where, according to the classification system, the majority of households using gas for cooking have insufficient kitchen ventilation.

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