A federal regulator has backtracked on comments about banning gas stoves after the idea of a ban came to a head this week.
Consumer Product Safety Commissioner Richard Trumka, Jr. told Bloomberg in an interview this week that a ban is “on the table” for gas stoves, which research has linked to food safety concerns. health, especially asthma.
“Products that cannot be secured may be banned,” Trumka told the outlet. Trumka also highlighted the health dangers of gas stoves during an appearance last month before the Public Interest Research Group.
“We need to talk about regulating gas stoves, whether it’s drastically reducing emissions or banning gas stoves altogether,” Trumka told PIRG, adding that a ban “is a powerful tool in our toolbox and it’s a real possibility here, especially because there seem to be readily available alternatives already on the market.”
The prospect of a ban has inflamed the gas industry and many politicians, who have described the problem as a government overreach problem.
Rep. Byron Donald (R-Fla.) tweeted at President Biden to “get your hands off our gas stoves!!!!”
“If you know anything about cooking, there’s nothing quite like cooking on a gas stove,” he said.
On Tuesday afternoon, the CPSC chairman clarified that while the commission is looking for ways to make stoves safer, there will be no ban in the immediate future.
“I’m not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no procedure to do so,” he said. “CPSC is studying gas emissions from stoves and exploring ways to address health risks.”
Tromka too clarified that any ban would apply to new products – not the gas stoves that Americans currently own.
What will happen, according to Trumka and CPSC records, is a participatory effort to make stoves safer. The CPSC will issue a request for information this spring asking consumers, industry groups and other parties for ideas to mitigate the effects of gas stoves, Trumka said in December.
Risks of dementia and asthma
Research is mounting that gas stoves – used by a third of Americans for cooking – are bad for your health. A December study found that 13% of childhood asthma cases nationwide can be traced to the indoor use of gas stoves. A previous study from a decade ago found that a gas stove at home increased a child’s risk of asthma by 42%.
Cooking on these stoves emits nitrous oxide and fine particulate matter, which can build up within minutes to levels deemed unsafe by the Environmental Protection Agency. Fine particles have also been linked to higher rates of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, according to a research paper published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Even when gas stoves are turned off, they emit in the meantimea potent greenhouse gas that is dozens of times more damaging to the climate than carbon dioxide.
Citing the harmful environmental impact of the devices, dozens of US cities havein new buildings, while some twenty states have at local level.
The American Gas Association has pushed back on research showing the dangers of gas stoves. He has previously said that emissions from gas cooking are similar to emissions created when cooking with electric stoves and that he plans to submit evidence to that effect.
On Tuesday, he slammed the latest study linking gas cookers to asthma, calling it “baseless claims” and pointing to the role of gas inof the electricity sector by ejecting more polluting coal.
“Any effort to ban highly efficient natural gas stoves should sound alarm bells for the 187 million Americans who depend on this essential fuel every day,” the AGA said in a statement.
Limitations on gas stoves are a major concern for the industry, which in 2020 has proven to be paying influencers to tout the benefits of gas cooking.
But public health advocates say stoves are a glaring exception in health laws that require gas appliances to be vented outdoors. They say the latest research should spur cities and states to accelerate the transition to clean energy and ditch fossil fuels altogether.
The gas is “killing us in our own homes,” Raya Salter, executive director of the Energy Justice Law and Policy Center, told City Limits recently.
push for rules
Any attempt to regulate stoves, even to improve public health, will likely meet strong resistance from industry and consumers who are attached to their gas stoves. And although some experts say there are higher quality cooking appliances, such as induction cookers, they cost more than gas stoves, and many Americans confuse this technology with older coil cooktops. electrical.
All the more reason to highlight health and environmental concerns with gas stoves, CPSC’s Trumka said last month.
“The vast majority of Americans have no idea that every time they cook they could be subjecting themselves and their loved ones to toxic chemicals, including children who are more vulnerable to effects such as the development of lifelong asthma and respiratory disease,” he told PIRG.
Trumka sounded a note of hope, saying draft regulations could be released as early as December 2023.
“Just because the feds aren’t known for acting fast doesn’t mean they can’t,” he added.
This story has been updated.