Even when they are switched off, gas stoves emit pollution, and pose significant health risks — namely, an increased risk for childhood asthma, as highlighted by a new study. And that's why a U.S. government commissioner stated that he is considering a nationwide ban on gas stoves.
Something like this could make a huge difference in reducing childhood asthma and even environmental pollution. However, according to a high-ranking government official, it does not seem like it's actually in the cards. Keep reading for what we know so far.
A U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission commissioner said that a gas stove ban is on the table.
Richard Trumka Jr., a commissioner for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), told Bloomberg that the agency is considering a ban on gas stoves, in response to new research.
“This is a hidden hazard,” Trumka told the news outlet. “Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”
Trumka told Bloomberg that the CSPC could put forth an official proposal sometime this year. Trumka implied that it could mean prohibiting the manufacture and import of gas stoves. There could also be the possibility of offering incentives to people who replace their gas stoves.
So, is the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission considering a federal ban on gas stoves?
On Jan. 11, CSPC Commission Chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric responded to Trumka's interview with Bloomberg, and shut down the rumors that a gas stove ban was happening.
"To be clear, I am not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so," he stated, as per Roll Call.
New research on gas stove hazards has prompted rumors of the potential nationwide ban.
The study in question was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. According to the new research, cooking with indoor gas stoves is linked to a significant and quantifiable increased risk of asthma in children.
About a third of homes in the U.S. have gas stoves. After comparing gas stove data to current childhood asthma rates in the U.S., the researchers found that 12.7 percent of current childhood asthma cases (people aged under 18) in the country can be attributed to gas stove use.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, asthma is a leading chronic disease in U.S. children, with about 5.1 million cases of childhood asthma. So, based on the new research, there could be about 647,700 children suffering from asthma due to indoor gas stoves.
The authors believe that ridding the U.S. of gas stoves could "theoretically" prevent a significant portion of childhood asthma cases. This would differ from state to state.
For instance, the study estimates that in Illinois, 21.1 percent of cases could be prevented; in California, 20.1 percent; in New York, 18.8 percent; in Massachusetts, 15.4 percent; and in Pennsylvania, 13.5 percent.
"Our results quantify the US public health burden attributed to gas stove use and childhood asthma," the authors 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."
The CSPC has working on this gas stove ban for months.
According to CNN, the CPSC has actually been working on a plan to tackle gas stove pollution "for months." Back in October, the agency asked for public comments on the matter, and soon, the agency plans to open public comment on the topic once again.
If a ban is not going to happen anytime soon (which, according to Hoehn-Saric, it's not), Trumka told Bloomberg that perhaps the CSPC would set emissions standards on gas stoves. There's also the chance that the government could start requiring warning labels on new gas stoves, which is something that a group of U.S. Senators and Representatives formally suggested to the commission in December. (They also suggested starting an education campaign, requiring range hoods to be sold with gas stoves, and more.)
However, a 2021 study published by the JAMA Network found that warning labels on cigarette packs in the U.S. did not affect smoking habits, so the potential effectiveness of warning labels on gas stoves is debatable.
Guess who criticized the rumored gas stove ban...
"The federal government has no business telling American families how to cook their dinner," he added. "I can tell you the last thing that would ever leave my house is the gas stove that we cook on."
Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) also tweeted that he would never give up his gas stove. "If the maniacs in the White House come for my stove, they can pry it from my cold dead hands. COME AND TAKE IT!!" he wrote — to which Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez replied: "Did you know that ongoing exposure to NO2 from gas stoves is linked to reduced cognitive performance?" Mic drop.
With gas stoves being powered by natural gas (a fossil fuel), it's no surprise that those with deep ties to the industry (including some Republicans and energy lobbyists, as per Bloomberg) are opposed to a potential ban on gas stoves. Though it seems like the ban is not happening, at least for now, it's clear that many people's attachment to them is more rooted in their support of the fossil fuel industry, as opposed to their cooking preferences.