The White House released a statement on Wednesday asserting that President Joe Biden does not support a ban on gas stoves. This follows a recent Bloomberg interview with US Consumer Product Safety Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr., who called the household appliance a “hidden hazard” and said that “any option is on the table” in regards to regulating them.
Products that can’t be made safe can be banned, Trumka said. Besides a ban, other options include “setting standards on emissions from the appliances.” Pollutants from gas stoves have been linked to asthma and worsening respiratory conditions. A December 2022 study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that indoor gas stove usage is associated with an increased risk of current asthma among children.
The study found that almost 13% of current childhood asthma in the US is attributable to gas stove use. And lawmakers in Washington recently argued that Black, Latino and low-income households are more likely to be affected by these adverse reactions, because they are either more likely to live near a waste incinerator or coal ash site or are in a home with poor ventilation.
A White House spokesperson (as per CNN) on Wednesday, “The President does not support banning gas stoves – and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is independent, is not banning gas stoves.”
The CPSC has been considering action on gas stoves for months, and in October, Trumka recommended that the commission seek public comment on the hazards associated with gas stoves. However, earlier Wednesday, following the Bloomberg report, Chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric clarified in a statement that he is “not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so.”
“CPSC is researching gas emissions in stoves and exploring new ways to address health risks. CPSC also is actively engage in strengthening voluntary safety standards for gas stoves. And later this spring, we will be asking the public to provide us with information about gas stove emissions and potential solutions for reducing any associated risks,” he added.
While Trumka clarified that “CPSC isn’t coming for anyone’s gas stoves,” he also added that “regulations apply to new products.”
The four members of the Consumer Product Safety Commission who did not support applying stricter regulations on gas stoves, including a ban, are Stephanie Trumka, Chairman of the Commission; Michael P. Donnelly, Commissioner; Nancy Nordberg, Commissioner; and Ann Brown, Commissioner. In October, Trumka proposed directing the agency’s staff to start a rulemaking to regulate gas stoves, but she acknowledged a lack of support at the time and withdrew the amendment. Instead, the commissioners agreed to “obtain public input on hazards associated with gas stoves.”
According to the E&E News report, thirty five percent of households in the US use a gas stove, and the number approaches 70% in some states like California and New Jersey. Other studies have found these stoves emit significant levels of nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and fine particulate matter – which without proper ventilation can raise the levels of indoor concentration levels to unsafe levels as deemed by the Environmental Protection Agency.