US: Federal regulator considers a ban on gas stoves

January 11, 2023 11:20 am

[Source: CBS Businesss]

Federal regulators are considering banning gas stoves as evidence mounts of their potential risks to human health.

Consumer Product Safety Commissioner Richard Trumka, Jr., told Bloomberg in an interview that a ban was “on the table.”

“Products that can’t be made safe can be banned,” Trumka told the media outlet.

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“We need to be talking about regulating gas stoves, whether it’s drastically reducing emissions or banning gas stoves entirely,” Trumka told a consumer safety group last month. A ban “is a powerful tool in our toolbox and it’s a real possibility here, particularly because there seem to be readily available alternatives already in the market.”

The CPSC will issue a request for information from consumers, industry groups and other parties on mitigating the effects of gas stoves by March, Trumka said in December in a talk before the Public Interest Research Group.

Trumka’s statements come as more research surfaces on the health impacts of gas-burning stoves. A December study found that 13% of childhood asthma cases nationwide can be blamed on 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 particulates, which can build up in minutes to levels deemed unsafe by the Environmental Protection Agency. Fine particulates have also been linked with higher rates of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, according to a research article this month from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Even when gas stoves are off, meanwhile, they emit large amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that is dozens of times more damaging to the climate than carbon dioxide.

Citing the appliances’ harmful environmental impact, dozens of U.S. cities have banned gas stoves in new buildings, while about 20 states have banned them on the local level.

The American Gas Association has pushed back against Trumka’s comments. It previously said that emissions from cooking with gas are similar to emissions created when cooking with electric stoves and that it planned to submit evidence to that effect.

On Tuesday, it slammed the latest study to link gas stoves to asthma, calling it findings “baseless allegations” and pointing to the role of gas in reducing carbon emissions from the power sector by pushing out more polluting coal.

“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,” the AGA said in a statement.

Limitations on gas stoves are a major concern for the industry, which in 2020 was found to be paying influencers to tout the benefits of cooking with gas.

But public health advocates say that stoves are a glaring exception in health laws that require gas-burning appliances to be vented outdoors. They say the latest research should impel cities and states to accelerate the transition to clean energy and get off fossil fuels entirely.

Gas is “killing us in our own homes,” Raya Salter, executive director of the Energy Justice Law and Policy Center, told City Limits recently.