Your gas stove is safe. Federal government turns down the heat on a big kitchen controversy

January 11, 2023, 6:44 PM UTC
The federal government says it has no plans to ban gas stoves.
Ulrich Baumgarten—Getty Images

The head of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission said the agency has no plans to ban gas stoves, days after one of his colleagues said a ban was one option was under consideration in comments that ignited a political firestorm.

“I am not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so,” Alexander Hoehn-Saric said in a statement Wednesday. He added that the four-person commission is researching emissions from the appliances and looking for ways to reduce related indoor air-quality hazards. 

Hoehn-Saric’s comments follow remarks made by Richard Trumka Jr., an agency commissioner, who told Bloomberg that the CPSC would consider a ban as part of efforts to address hazards posed by gas ranges. His words ignited criticism from the gas industry and from lawmakers ranging from House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers to Senator Joe Manchin.

“I can tell you the last thing that would ever leave my house is the gas stove that we cook on,” the West Virginia Democrat said in a statement Tuesday. “If this is the greatest concern that the Consumer Product Safety Commission has for American consumers, I think we need to reevaluate the commission.”

Natural gas stoves are used in about 40% of homes in the US. They emit air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and fine particulate matter at levels the EPA and World Health Organization have said are unsafe and linked to respiratory illness, cardiovascular problems, cancer and other health conditions, multiple studies have said.

Consumer Reports, in October, urged consumers planning to buy a new range to consider going electric after tests conducted by the group found high levels of nitrogen oxide gases from gas stoves. And new peer-reviewed research published last month in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that more than 12% of current childhood asthma cases in the US can be attributed to gas stove use.

‘Hidden Hazard’

Trumka, in his remarks, said the appliances were a “hidden hazard” and that a ban on the manufacture and import of gas ranges were among the options on the table. The agency plans to open public comment on the issue in the form of a Request for Information later this winter.

But his remarks received swift pushback from Republicans and other who saw it as an example of government overreach from the 500-person, Bethesda, Maryland-based agency better known for its crackdowns on lawn darts and Ikea shelving

“The Biden Administration is once again going to extreme lengths to appease Green New Deal fanatics,” Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican tweeted

The idea of a ban also got criticism from groups representing the stove manufacturers and natural gas distributors, which have seen their business model increasingly threatened amid as opposition to the fuel source grows amid concerns about its climate-warming impacts. 

“Regulators, like the Consumer Products Safety Commission, should rely on real data and science not unsubstantiated claims of advocates,” the American Gas Association said in a statement. 

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