[Ivan Radic, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons]

Despite Denial, CPSC Gets Ball Rolling On Gas Stoves Ban

A few weeks ago, gas stoves made the news because some bureaucrats began kicking around the idea that they should be banned. Time Magazine noted, “The spat came after TIME Magazine reported, “A federal agency is considering a ban on gas stoves amid rising concern about the health risks associated with indoor air pollution from the appliances, particularly among children.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which can issue mandatory standards or ban consumer products if no feasible standard would adequately protect the public, plans to take action to address the gas pollution that has long been linked to health and respiratory problems. Richard Trumka Jr., a U.S. Consumer Product Safety commissioner, tweeted on Monday that “gas stoves can emit dangerous [levels] of toxic chemicals—even when not in use—and @USCPSC will consider all approaches to regulation.”

New regulatory action could require all new homes be built with electric stoves or high efficiency exhaust vents. Trumka told Bloomberg, which first reported the news, that “any option is on the table” and “products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”

The agency plans to open public comment on hazards posed by gas stoves in March, according to the agency’s yearly operating plan. Trumka clarified that the agency would not be able to physically remove gas stoves from everyone’s homes—but instead require all new products to comply with their regulations.”

At the time, New Conservative Post noted, “Richard Trumka, Jr. is the son of former AFL-CIO leader Richard Trumka. President Joe Biden nominated Trumka Jr. to his bureaucratic post in July 2021. Trumka’s father died the next month at the age of 72” and pointed to the fact that younger liberals in Congress were, no pun intended, warming up to the idea.

Despite loud denials from the White House, it looks like they got to ball rolling last week.

“The Energy Department proposal, published Wednesday, sets first-of-their-kind limits on energy consumption for the stoves, drawing fear from the industry that the regulation could effectively end the use of some products from the market. The proposal also sets energy usage standards for electric cook tops and new standards for both gas and electric ovens,” writes Bloomberg.

“The move comes just weeks after an official with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission floated the idea of a ban, igniting criticism from the gas industry and from lawmakers ranging from House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers to Senator Joe Manchin. Within days, the head of the commission clarified that the agency had no plans for a ban, and the White House issued a statement that said the president didn’t support banning the cooking products either. 

‘We are concerned that this is another attempt by the Federal government to use regulations to remove viable and efficient natural gas products from the market,’ Karen Harbert, president of the American Gas Association, said of the Energy Department’s proposal, adding that the group will “carefully evaluate this rule in the coming weeks.”

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.”

The Chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Alexander Hoehn-Saric, stated that his agency was “not looking to ban gas stoves.” Rather, it is simply moving forward with a “Request for Information, the first step in a potential rule making.” In other words, they aren’t banning stoves; the bureaucrats at the CPSC are merely requesting ideas from the public about ways to manufacture a reason to ban them.   

Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) today sent a letter to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CPSC) Chairman Alexander Hoehn-Saric amid rumors swirling that the Biden Administration is looking to ban gas stoves in his near-constant pursuit of a Green New Deal agenda to cater to progressive Democrats instead of letting Americans buy what they want.

A bipartisan group of senators has demanded the CPSC explain what it’s doing. Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) today sent a letter Hoehn-Saric “amid rumors swirling that the Biden Administration is looking to ban gas stoves in his near-constant pursuit of a Green New Deal agenda to cater to progressive Democrats instead of letting Americans buy what they want.

Lankford and Manchin wrote in their letter, “While a gas stove ban is not yet on the table, the lead up to one is. In October, the Commission adopted an amendment to begin the process of a Request for Information (RFI) to ‘seek public input on hazards associated with gas stoves and propose solutions to those hazards’….As you know, gas stoves are used in about 35 percent of households nationwide, nearly 40 million homes. The household figure in some states is closer to 70 percent. Natural gas stoves have been used for well over a century and have been proven to be both safe and efficient appliances… We understand the Commission’s mission is to ensure consumer safety. However, it is unclear what safety angle the Commission plans to take with the recent RFI.”

NPR recently stated that there’s a solution to this entire “problem.” It wrote, “The heated debate over regulating gas stoves is really about the burners in those appliances. That’s where natural gas, a fossil fuel, is combusted and air pollution is released into homes.

Four decades ago, the gas industry and appliance manufacturers developed a partial solution for this problem. They created a cleaner and more efficient burner. But you can’t buy ranges with those burners because the industry never manufactured those appliances for sale.

Appliance manufacturers and gas industry allies say there are reasons for that: these burners cost more, are less durable, harder to clean, and they didn’t see consumer demand for them.”

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