GAS cookers might be guilty of something a lot more sinister than eating up your money, experts have warned.

The hobs, used by almost a third of households in the UK, emit potentially dangerous gases – even when turned off, a new study warns.

According to scientists, gas cookers can put families at risk of several deadly illnesses by emitting the same particles belched out by cars and trucks.

Dr Jonathan Levy, an environmental health professor at Boston University in the US, said the cookers pollute houses with nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

The gas may cause asthma in children and put adults at risk of cancer, Dr Levy explained in an article he wrote in the Conversation.

The pollutant is most commonly found on motorways.

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However, since kitchens are enclosed spaces, when the gas is present at home, families are much more at risk of being exposed to its cancer and asthma-causing properties.

The size of the home and the quality of ventilation also play a part, Dr Levy explained.

"Nitrogen dioxide exposures in homes have been associated with more severe asthma and increased use of rescue inhalers in children," Dr Levy said.

"This gas can also affect asthmatic adults, and it contributes to both the development and exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease," he added.

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One Dutch study, revealed that people with gas cookers were 42 per cent more likely to develop asthma.

Even when switched off, the cookers emit chemicals like methane, which not only damages the environment but can also cause rapid heartbeat and trouble breathing in humans.

When off gas cookers also release benzene – a chemical linked to different cancers including leukaemia.

A recent US study found that 95 per cent of gas cookers release the cancer-causing gas.

Meanwhile, the gas industry’s position is that gas cookers are a minor source of indoor air pollutants.

To reduce your families exposure to the harmful gases, Dr Levy suggested trying to improve ventilation.

"Try running a range hood that vents to the outdoors and opening kitchen windows while cooking.

"This will help, but it won’t eliminate exposures, especially for household members who are in the kitchen while cooking takes place," he said.

The expert also encouraged people to switch to magnetic induction cooktops – surfaces that cook much faster than conventional cookers, without igniting a flame or heating an electric coil.

"In my view, even if you’re not driven to reduce your carbon footprint – or you’re just seeking ways to cook pasta faster – the opportunity to have cleaner air inside your home may be a strong motivator to make the switch," he explained.

Previously, experts have said that giving children antibiotics may increase their chances of developing asthma in later life.

New research has shown that early exposure to antibiotics can kill healthy gut bacteria which could lead to asthma in adulthood. 

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Meanwhile, experts have found that young people are now more at risk of developing cancer than ever before.

Scientists believe this is because of major changes to the average Western person's diet and lifestyle over the last several decades.

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