Letters to the Editor: How risky are gas stoves? Leukemia in smokers may provide a clue

A gas burner is used to cook at The Times' test kitchen in El Segundo.
A gas burner is used to cook at The Times’ test kitchen in El Segundo.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
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To the editor: While I agree with the sentiment of Dr. Lisa Patel’s op-ed article, I wish she had offered a clearer picture of the risk associated with exposure to benzene from using a gas stove.

Leukemia is the most serious consequence of exposure to benzene. Since the exposure to benzene from gas stoves has been compared to that associated with second-hand smoke, we can look to smokers for a “worst-case scenario.”

A National Institutes of Health study found that smokers had a 13% increased risk for leukemia overall, though the risk for certain subtypes was much higher. Some “back of the envelope” calculations suggest that roughly eight of every 100,000 smokers will develop leukemia as a result of benzene exposure in any given year. The risk for gas stove users would be expected to be somewhat less.


Quantitative estimates like this along with other factors, including the importance of reducing fossil fuel consumption, should help people decide whether to give up their gas stoves.

Glenn Rogers, M.D., South Pasadena


To the editor: Warning labels have been on cigarette packs since 1965.

The study referenced in Patel’s article would have us believe that using a gas stove can be as bad as second-hand smoking. If this is true, where are the lawsuits and other studies?

I find the timing of this study to be too convenient considering the recent push, in some circles, to eliminate gas stoves.

Paul Salerno, Riverside


To the editor: When I was planning a kitchen remodel in 2006, I wanted a gas stove. But there wasn’t a gas line where I needed it, and then I learned about induction.


Induction is more efficient than gas. It also cooks faster and throws out far less heat and no indoor pollutants. Today there are lots of choices for induction, including both cooktops and ranges.

Sue Guilford, Orange