US federal agency considers option to ban gas stoves
(CNN) — A US federal agency is considering banning gas stoves, a source of indoor pollution linked to childhood asthma.
In an interview with Bloomberg, a commissioner of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said that the use of gas stoves is a “hidden danger.”
“Any option is open. Products that cannot be made safe can be banned,” agency commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. told Bloomberg. According to the report, the agency plans to “take steps” to address indoor contamination caused by for the stoves.
The CPSC has been considering action on gas stoves for months. Trumka recommended in October that the CPSC seek public comment on the dangers associated with gas stoves. Pollutants have been linked to asthma and worsening respiratory conditions.
A study published in December 2022 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health revealed that the use of gas stoves indoors is associated with an increased risk of current asthma among children. The study found that nearly 13% of current childhood asthma in the US is attributable to the use of gas stoves.
Trumka told Bloomberg that the agency plans to open public comment on the dangers of gas stoves. Among the options, in addition to the ban, is “setting standards on device emissions.”
35% of households in the United States use a gas stove, and the figure is close to 70% in some states such as California and New Jersey. Other studies have found that these stoves emit significant levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide, and fine particles, which without proper ventilation can raise indoor concentration levels to unsafe levels according to the EPA.
“Short-term exposure to NO2 is associated with worsening asthma in children, and it has been determined that long-term exposure can cause the development of asthma,” a group of legislators stated in a letter to the president of the CPSC, Alexander Hoehn-Saric, adding that it can also aggravate cardiovascular disease.
The letter – whose signatories include Senator Corey Booker and Senator Elizabeth Warren – argues that black, Latino and low-income households are more likely to be affected by these adverse reactions, as they are more likely to live near an incinerator from a waste or coal ash site or living in a poorly ventilated dwelling.
In a statement to CNN, the CPSC said the agency has not proposed any regulatory action on gas cooktops at this time, and any regulatory action “would be a lengthy process.”
“Agency staff plan to begin collecting data and perspectives from the public on the potential hazards associated with gas stoves, and proposed solutions to those hazards, later this year,” the agency said in a statement. “Commission staff also continue to work with voluntary standards organizations to examine emissions from gas stoves and address potential hazards.”
Some cities in the United States have banned natural gas connections in all new buildings to reduce greenhouse emissions: Berkeley in 2019, San Francisco in 2020 and New York in 2021. But, since last February, 20 states with Republican-controlled legislatures have passed so-called “preemption laws” that do not allow cities to ban natural gas.
“To me that’s what’s interesting about this new trend, it seems like states are trying to eliminate the possibility before cities try to catch up with this,” said Sarah Fox, an associate professor of law at New York Law School. Northern Illinois University, told CNN last year.
The voices against
In a statement to CNN Business, the Home Appliance Manufacturers Association said improved ventilation is the solution to prevent indoor air pollution while cooking.
“A ban on gas cooktops would eliminate an affordable and preferred technology used in more than 40% of homes across the country,” Jill Notini, an industry spokeswoman, said in a statement. “A ban on gas cooking would not address the general concern of indoor air quality while cooking, because all forms of cooking, regardless of heat source, create air pollutants, especially at high temperatures.”
The American Gas Association opposed the natural gas ban in a December blog post, saying it makes housing more expensive since “electric homes require expensive retrofits.”
However, Biden’s landmark Inflation Reduction Act includes a rebate of up to $840 for an electric stove or other appliances, and up to $500 to help cover the costs of converting to electricity from gas. .
– CNN’s Ella Nilsen contributed to this article.