Children are particularly at risk of health effects from this gas pollution. Their immune and respiratory systems are still in development, and because they engage in more physical activity and have higher breathing rates than adults, they take in higher volumes of the toxic particles created by the burning gas. Studies have found that children in homes with gas stoves without adequate ventilation have higher rates of asthma compared to homes with electric appliances. They are also at risk of additional adverse health impacts including nose, throat and eye irritation, bronchitis, allergies, and respiratory and ear infections.
As a pediatrician, I know that every parent's priority is keeping their children healthy and I work with families each day to ensure that their children thrive. As a parent myself, I believe that our Menlo Park community and neighbors have the responsibility to create a healthier environment for our families. To do this, we must start inside our own homes.
Across Menlo Park, we are fortunate that our electricity is completely carbon free, and we should move away from gas inside our homes by making the switch to electric appliances. In the kitchen, this means swapping out gas stoves and ovens for electric or induction stoves. Heat pump heating and electric water heating are comparable in price to gas models (with local rebate programs) and can provide overall cost savings. Heat pump heating can also provide cooling from the same appliance, which will come in handy during wildfire seasons when smoky, polluted skies make it challenging to cool down Menlo Park homes by simply opening our windows. To ensure that everyone can afford the upfront costs of making the switch away from gas to reduce the pollutants that their families are exposed to, let's encourage our city leaders to support electrification in both new construction and existing homes.
When we reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, we not only prevent the harmful effects of burning pollutants in our homes, but also play a role in tackling the emissions that are contributing to our warming planet. Let's do our part to ensure that Menlo Park's children — and children all over the globe — have the opportunity to grow up in a safer, cleaner world.
Dr. Erika Drazan is a pediatrician who lives in Menlo Park.
This story contains 600 words.
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