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Time To Ban Asthma-Causing Heaters

Media Release

7 October 2008

Time To Ban Asthma-Causing Heaters

It’s time the Government looked seriously at banning unflued gas heaters given the health hazards they create, says New Zealand First health spokesperson Barbara Stewart.

“The finding by a university team and the Building Research Association that banning the heaters could reduce the cost of treating asthma symptoms by an amount similar to that spent every year on new asthma medication should prod the relevant ministers into action.

“It’s hard to find anyone with a good word to say about unflued gas heaters. Consumer NZ no longer tests LPG heaters and says they don’t recommend them.

“Unflued gas heaters gained popularity because they were originally a cheap form of heating but with increases in the price of gas that no longer applies. They are banned in Australia because of concerns about their safety, said Mrs Stewart.

“We have one of the highest rates of asthma in the world - it is estimated that one in four children in this country is asthmatic and it is the most common cause of hospital admission among children.

“Taking all that into account it is time for some action on this front. Perhaps the Government could subsidise the replacement of gas heaters with something safer so as not to disadvantage those who cannot afford to discard their gas heaters.

“The continued use of unflued gas heaters in the homes of children who are already prone to respiratory problems is irresponsible when there is so much compelling evidence that the heaters are unhealthy,” said Mrs Stewart.


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