A US federal agency is considering banning gas stoves

New York

A federal agency is considering banning gas stoves, a source of indoor pollution linked to childhood asthma.

In an interview with Bloomberg, the US consumer product safety commissioner said that using a gas stove is a “hidden danger”.

“Every option is on the table. Products that cannot be made safe can be banned,” said agency commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. for Bloomberg. The report said the agency plans to “take action” to address indoor pollution caused by 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 are linked to asthma and worsening respiratory conditions.

A December 2022 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that indoor gas stove use was associated with an increased risk of current asthma among children. A study found that nearly 13% of current childhood asthma in the US can be attributed to gas stove use.

Trumka told Bloomberg that the agency plans to open public comments on the dangers of gas furnaces. Options other than a ban include “setting standards for device emissions.”

Thirty-five percent of households in the United States use a gas stove, with the number approaching 70% in some states such as California and New Jersey. Other studies have found that these furnaces release significant levels of nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and fine particulate matter—which, without proper ventilation, can raise indoor concentration levels to unsafe levels according to the EPA.

“Short-term exposure to NO2 is associated with exacerbation of asthma in children, and long-term exposure has been identified as a likely cause of asthma development,” the group of MPs said in a letter to chairman Alexander Hoehn-Saric, adding that it may also worsen cardiovascular disease.

The letter — Sen. Corey Booker and Sen. Elizabeth Warren among its signatories — argued that these side effects are more likely to affect black, Hispanic and low-income households because they are more likely to live near a waste or coal ash incinerator or are in house with poor ventilation.

In a statement to CNN, the CPSC said the agency has not proposed any regulatory action for gas stoves at this time and that any regulatory action “would involve a lengthy process.”

“Agency staff plans to begin collecting data and public perspectives on potential hazards associated with gas stoves and propose solutions to these hazards later this year,” the Commission said in a statement. “Commission staff also continues to work with voluntary standards organizations to examine gas furnace emissions and address potential hazards.”

Some cities across the US have banned natural gas hookups in all new buildings to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – Berkeley 2019, San Francisco in 2020, New York in 2021. But as of last February, 20 states with GOP-controlled legislatures have passed so-called “preemption laws” that prohibit cities from banning natural gas.

“To me, that’s what’s interesting about this new trend, it seems like states are trying to eliminate that possibility before cities try to catch it,” Sarah Fox, an associate professor of law at Northern University School of Law, told CNN last year. Illinois. “The natural gas industry… he was very aggressive in trying to get this passed.”

In a statement to CNN Business, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers said that improving ventilation is the solution to prevent indoor air pollution during cooking.

“Banning gas cooktops would remove an affordable and preferred technology used in more than 40% of homes nationwide,” said Jill Notini, an industry spokeswoman. “A ban on gas cooking would fail to address the overall concern for indoor air quality during cooking, as all forms of cooking, regardless of the heat source, create air pollutants, especially at high temperatures.”

The American Gas Association opposed the natural gas ban in a blog post in December, saying it makes housing more expensive because “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 electrical appliances and up to $500 to cover the cost of switching from gas to electricity.

— CNN’s Ella Nilsen contributed to this report.

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