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Asthma

Asthma Triggers: Gain Control

Nitrogen Dioxide

picture of gas flame depicting the asthma trigger - Nitrogen Dioxide

About Nitrogen Dioxide and asthma

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is an odorless gas that can irritate your eyes, nose and throat and cause shortness of breath. NO2 can come from appliances inside your home that burn fuels such as gas, kerosene and wood. NO2 forms quickly from emissions from cars, trucks and buses, power plants and off-road equipment. Smoke from your stove or fireplace can trigger asthma.

In people with asthma, exposure to low levels of NO2 may cause increased bronchial reactivity and make young children more susceptible to respiratory infections. Long-term exposure to high levels of NO2 can lead to chronic bronchitis. Studies show a connection between breathing elevated short-term NO2 concentrations, and increased visits to emergency departments and hospital admissions for respiratory issues, especially asthma.


Actions you can take

If possible, use fuel-burning appliances that are vented to the outside. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to use these appliances.

  • Gas cooking stoves: If you have an exhaust fan in the kitchen, use it when you cook. Never use the stove to keep you warm or heat your house.
  • Unvented kerosene or gas space heaters: Use the proper fuel and keep the heater adjusted the right way. Open a window slightly or use an exhaust fan when you are using the heater.
Environmental Asthma Triggers

For all EPA asthma resources and publications, visit the Publications webpage.

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