A US federal agency is considering a ban on gas stoves

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

In an interview with Bloomberg, a US commissioner for consumer product safety said that using gas stoves was a “hidden danger”.

“Every option is on the table. Products that cannot be made safe can be banned,” agency commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. told Bloomberg. The report said the agency was planning “measures” against stove-related pollution indoors.

The CPSC has been considering measures on gas stoves for months. Trumka recommended in October that the CPSC seek public comment on the dangers associated with gas stoves. The pollutants 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 use of gas stoves is associated with an increased risk of current asthma in children. The study found that nearly 13% of current childhood asthma in the US is due to gas stove use.

Trumka told Bloomberg the agency plans to make public comments about the dangers of gas stoves. Options alongside a ban include “setting standards for equipment emissions”.

35% of homes in the United States use a gas stove, and in some states like California and New Jersey the number is approaching 70%. Other studies have found that these furnaces emit significant levels of nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter — which, without proper ventilation, can raise indoor concentration levels to unsafe levels, as deemed by the EPA.

“Short-term exposure to NO2 is associated with worsening asthma in children, and long-term exposure has been found to be likely to cause the development of asthma,” a group of lawmakers said in a letter to Chairman Alexander Hoehn-Saric, adding adding that this can also aggravate cardiovascular disease.

The letter — Sen. Corey Booker and Sen. Elizabeth Warren among its signers — argued that black, Hispanic, and low-income households are more likely to be affected by these side effects because they are either more likely to live near an incinerator or coal ash site, or in a home with Poor live ventilation.

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

“The agency’s staff plan to begin collecting data and public views on potential dangers associated with gas stoves and proposing solutions to those dangers later this year,” the commission said in a statement. “Commission staff continue to work with voluntary standards organizations to study emissions from gas stoves and address potential hazards.”

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

“To me, the interesting thing about this new trend is that it seems like states are trying to eliminate this possibility before cities are trying to achieve that,” Sarah Fox, an associate law professor at Northern Illinois University School of Law, said last year to CNN. “The natural gas industry… was very aggressive to get this through.”

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

“A ban on gas cooking appliances would eliminate an affordable and preferred technology used in more than 40% of homes across the country,” said Jill Notini, spokeswoman for the industry, in a statement. “A ban on gas cooking would not address the general concern about indoor air quality when cooking, as all forms of cooking, regardless of the heat source, produce air pollutants, especially at high temperatures.”

The American Gas Association opposed a natural gas ban in a December blog post, saying it makes housing more expensive because “electric homes require expensive retrofits.”

But Biden’s landmark inflation-reducing law provides a rebate of up to $840 for an electric stove or other electrical appliance 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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