Report: US agency considering restrictions or ban on gas stoves over health concerns

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says it is considering stricter regulation or a federal ban on gas stoves, citing research that has linked the appliances to a variety of health problems, including childhood asthma.

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“This is a hidden hazard,” Richard Trumka Jr., a CPSC commissioner, told Bloomberg in an interview. “Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”

Several recent studies have suggested that emissions from gas stoves, both when in use and when off, are linked to not only respiratory illness but also cardiovascular problems and cancer.

About one in eight cases of childhood asthma is due to the pollution given off by cooking on gas stoves, according to a study in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. The study was released last week.

Brady Seals, a manager at the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Carbon-Free Buildings program and co-author of the study, told WFXT that the prevalence of asthma due to gas stoves is similar to the amount of asthma caused by secondhand smoking.

The Rocky Mountain Institute’s Carbon-Free Buildings program advocates for electrifying buildings.

“We knew this was a problem, but we didn’t know how bad,” Seals said, according to The Guardian. “This study shows that if we got rid of gas stoves, we would prevent 12.7% of childhood asthma cases, which I think most people would want to do.”

The American Gas Association, a trade group representing the natural gas industry, issued a statement that criticized the methodology of the study. The AGA said that researchers used estimated health risks and didn’t conduct their own measurements.

“Inexplicably, the authors ignored their own search of peer-reviewed manuscripts since 2013, where they found ‘none reported new associations between gas stove use and childhood asthma, specifically in North America or Europe.’

“That critical finding was evidently jettisoned in service of a headline-grabbing approach and without acknowledging any of the underlying studies’ significant limitations or inconsistent findings,” the statement continued.

Data from the federal American Housing Survey, which contained more detailed information on gas stove use in nine states, was used in the study, according to the researchers.

In December, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., sent a letter co-signed by 18 Democratic lawmakers to CPSC Chairman Alexander Hoehn-Saric, asking the agency to continue to address potential risks posed by gas stoves.

“Statistics show that Black, Latino, and low-income households are more likely to experience disproportionate air pollution, either from being more likely to be located near a waste incinerator or coal ash site, or living in smaller homes with poor ventilation, malfunctioning appliances, mold, dust mites, secondhand smoke, lead dust, pests, and other maintenance deficiencies,” the letter read.

One Republican lobbyist slammed the CPSC move as “political.”

“If the CPSC really wanted to do something about public health, it would ban cigarettes, or automobiles, long before it moved on to address stoves,” said Mike McKenna, a GOP energy lobbyist. “It’s transparently political.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, challenged the government to “Come and take it” with a tweet showing a representation of a gas stove.

Twenty states, whose consumption makes up about one-third of the U.S.’s total natural gas use, have passed legislation blocking any attempt to ban gas hookups in new construction.

The CPSC says it plans to open public comment on hazards posed by gas stoves later this winter.