Recent comments from a Consumer Products Safety Commission member concerned about the possible detrimental health effects of gas stoves have the appliances on the hot seat, with some concerned that the Biden administration could ban or regulate them as part of its efforts to combat climate change.
The conflagration began when CPSC Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr., son of the late, longtime AFL-CIO President and Greene County native Richard Trumka Sr., told Bloomberg that the agency should consider regulating or banning gas stoves because they emit pollutants that can aggravate respiratory problems, according to the Environmental Protection Agency and the World Health Organization.
Some research has indicated that gas stoves can be harmful and a recent study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that 12 percent of childhood asthma is attributable to natural gas stoves, which are used by about 35 percent of households in the U.S.
Natural gas is predominantly methane, a powerful greenhouse gas (GHG). When burned for cooking, it emits nitrogen dioxide, which can have harmful health effects. Gas leaks could also emit methane into the atmosphere.
The CPSC Chairman, Alexander Hoehn-Saric, quickly issued a statement saying that the commission was “not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so.
“CPSC is researching gas emissions in stoves and exploring new ways to address health risks. CPSC also is actively engaged in strengthening voluntary safety standards for gas stoves. And later this spring, we will be asking the public to provide us with information about gas stove emissions and potential solutions for reducing any associated risks,” the statement continues.
However, the comments had already galvanized opposition to any such moves. The American Gas Association issued a statement pushing back against way the most recent study was conducted that said “any efforts to ban highly efficient natural gas stoves should raise alarm bells for the 187 million Americans who depend on this essential fuel every day.”
A bill was also introduced in the House of Representatives by a group of Republicans to ban to prohibit federal agencies from banning gas stoves.
Some municipalities have approved legislation prohibiting natural gas hookups for new building construction in an effort to reduce GHG emissions and electrify buildings so they can be powered in the future by renewable energy sources. However, a number of states have pushed back on those efforts by prohibiting cities from banning natural gas in buildings. One such bill was approved by a Pennsylvania state House committee in the last session but did not advance.
Those who have gas stoves and are concerned about emissions can change out the appliance for electric or induction models, if that is an option. Health professionals also recommend that the overhead exhaust fan be used when cooking st being done to remove any harmful substances from the indoor air.