“Study” makes wild claims about natural gas appliances in the home, here are the facts

Perhaps you saw a silly new study claiming your gas stove is leaking methane like a sieve and causing health problems in YOUR home. During 2021 the Rio Grande Foundation debated with New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich (in both national and state publications) the merits and considerable demerits of his plan to “electrify” homes in the USA by eliminating natural gas appliances.

Unfortunately, like so much that passes for “science” these days, reality could not be further from the truth. Energy In Depth just published a debunking of the study here.

    • The researchers told Energy & Environment News that these supposedly massive gas leaks could be happening in homes without residents knowing it because methane doesn’t have an odor. Except it does, because by law it is required to before it’s sent to consumers. Utilities add mercaptan to give it that rotten eggs smell, so people can get out of the house if they smell it. If these “experts” don’t know that natural gas in homes has a distinct odor, how can we trust what they’re saying about allegedly leaking natural gas in homes?
    • Their health claim is based on comparing a single reading over a few minutes to a 1-hour outdoor air quality standard (NAAQS). The NAAQS is an average, so doing that is inappropriate. A study released last year on this same topic called out a separate research team for doing that and making the same kind of dubious health claims against gas;
    • To get their results, the researchers encased the kitchen area in plastic. In other words, there was no ventilation whatsoever. No kitchen anywhere is set up like this! They had to purposely envelop the gases in order to suggest there are problems;
    • One of the study’s authors told NPR that to fix the leaks you should go electric, but if you can’t then you should “Pull the stove out from the wall and tighten the connectors to the stove and to the nearby pipes.” This is insane, and once again reflects a lack of knowledge of what they actually studied. Only a licensed professional should ever do this, unless you have a death wish.