A federal agency is reportedly considering a ban on gas stoves on the heels of rising concern about harmful indoor air pollutants emitted by the appliances.
In an interview with Bloomberg, a U.S. Consumer Product Safety commissioner said gas stove usage is a “hidden hazard,” which can cause health issues, including respiratory problems in children.
“Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned,” agency commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. told Bloomberg, the first major outlet to break the news. The report said the agency plans “to take action” to address the indoor pollution caused by stoves.
A CPSC spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment by USA TODAY Tuesday.
Late Monday, Trumpka tweeted: “To be clear, CPSC isn’t coming for anyone’s gas stoves. Regulations apply to new products. For Americans who CHOOSE to switch from gas to electric, there is support available.”
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Gas stoves, used in more than 40 million U.S. homes, emit air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and fine particulate matter at levels the Environmental Protection Agency and World Health Organization said are unsafe and linked to respiratory disease, heart issues, cancer and other medical problems, according to reports by groups such as the Institute for Policy Integrity and the American Chemical Society.
The CPSC has been considering action on gas stoves since the fall. In October, Trumka recommended the agency seek public comment on the hazards associated with gas stoves after pollutants were linked to asthma and worsening respiratory conditions.
Gas stove use and child asthma
“Our results quantify the U.S. public health burden attributed to gas stove use and childhood asthma,” researchers wrote. “Further research is needed to quantify the burden experienced at the county levels, as well as the impacts of implementing mitigation strategies through intervention studies.”
In a Dec. 21 letter addressed to CPSC chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric, lawmakers including Sen. Cory Booker and Sen. Elizabeth Warren argued Black, Latino and low-income households are more likely to be affected by the effects, because they are either more likely to live near outdoor air pollution sources too or are in a home with poor ventilation.
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Ventilation is where ‘discussion should be’
But cooking produces emissions and harmful byproducts no matter what type of stove is used, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, which represents gas range manufacturers including Whirlpool Corp..
“Ventilation is really where this discussion should be, rather than banning one particular type of technology,” Jill Notini, a vice president with the association told Bloomberg. “Banning one type of a cooking appliance is not going to address the concerns about overall indoor air quality. We may need some behavior change, we may need (people) to turn on their hoods when cooking.”
The American Gas Association pushed back against a natural gas ban in a December blog post saying it makes housing more costly because “electric homes require expensive retrofits.”
But President Joe Biden’s landmark Inflation Reduction Act includes a rebate of up to $840 for an electric stove or other electric appliances, and up to an $500 to help cover costs of converting from gas to electric.