The Consumer Product Safety Commission chair has a message for America: No, we are not coming for your gas stoves. At least, not yet.
A news report from Bloomberg quoting CPSC commissioner Richard Trumka saying a ban on gas stoves and ranges is “on the table” sparked an immediate backlash. Even President Joe Biden felt the need to disavow his appointee’s statement.
“The president does not support banning gas stoves — and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is independent, is not banning gas stoves,” a White House spokesperson said Wednesday.
At issue are a handful of studies claiming gas stoves are a health risk. For example, a report published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Healthclaims more than 12% of current childhood asthma cases in the U.S. can be attributed to gas stove use.
Trumka said gas stovetops are “a hidden hazard” adding, “Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”
Now the head of the CPSC is seeking to assure American consumers that their gas appliances are safe. “The CPSC has no proceeding to do so,” said Chairman Alexander Hoehn-Saric in a Wednesday statement. But he added, “CPSC is researching gas emissions in stoves and exploring new ways to address any health risks.”
In other words, the issue is far from settled. But if the CSPC intends to move forward, it should be prepared for a bipartisan fight.
“This is a recipe for disaster. The federal government has no business telling American families how to cook their dinner,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.). “I can tell you the last thing that would never leave my house is the gas stove that we cook on.”
Supporters of consumer choice and free markets dismissed the science as thin, and the response as heavy-handed.
“This debate to me seems to be totally out of proportion from the benefits that Americans have because of fuels like natural gas for cooking and the health benefits from it — especially in relation to other options out there,” said Katie Tubb, Research Fellow at the Center for Energy, Climate, and Environment at The Heritage Foundation.
Climate activists have been targeting natural gas use in homes and businesses for years, in part by banning natural gas hookups in new construction.
Marc Morano of Climate Depot, a project of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), said fear is what often drives a lot of government or unelected bureaucratic board efforts to find ways to reduce the use of fossil fuels.
“When it comes to cooking anything, there’s all sorts of emissions, particulate matter in your home and it comes down to ventilation, but gas stoves have not been shown to be causing any kind of health crisis,” said Morano. “This is a political decision, knowing that climate is not going to scare people, so now they are going after ‘this is going to hurt your kids so we have to ban.’”
Chris Woodward writes about industry and technology for InsideSources.