Earlier due to health concerns, the US safety agency was considering banning gas stoves.



image via Daily Express

According to a federal safety agency, a ban on gas stoves is being considered in light of growing worries about the dangerous indoor air pollutants the appliances emit. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has plans to act against pollution, which can lead to respiratory and health issues.

We’ve written a lot about how dangerous gas stoves are, even when they’re off. According to a recent study, exposure to gas stove emissions is responsible for about one in eight cases of childhood asthma. So how did appliances swoop in and take over American homes? excellent, traditional industry propaganda. According to Rebecca Leber:

Like granite countertops, farm sinks, and stainless-steel refrigerators, gas stoves have been portrayed for decades in slick industry campaigns as a prized sign of class and sophistication, not to mention a selling point for home builders and real estate agents.

Natural gas sales have increased dramatically as a result of the strategy, but as public opinion is shifting away from fossil fuels, protecting gas stoves has become a last line of defense. Stoves were once essential to the industry’s expansion, but now they serve as a desperate attempt to hold onto its dwindling territory. Additionally, the industry has made a significant effort to defeat legislation that would have reduced the use of gas stoves in at least seven states.

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker were among a group of lawmakers who demanded in a letter to the CPSC in December 2021 that the agency set new performance standards for gas appliances and inform the public about the risks associated with cooking with gas. The Inflation Reduction Act, which was introduced by President Joe Biden, also includes a rebate of up to $840 for consumers who buy new electric cooking appliances.

Richard Trumka Jr., an agency commissioner, stated in an interview that “this is a hidden hazard.” “Every option is available. It is possible to outlaw products that cannot be made safe. According to studies by organizations like the Institute for Policy Integrity and the American Chemical Society, natural gas stoves, which are used in about 40% of US homes, emit air pollutants like nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and fine particulate matter at levels the EPA and World Health Organization have deemed unsafe and connected to respiratory illness, cardiovascular issues, cancer, and other health conditions. After tests by the organization revealed high levels of nitrogen oxide gases from gas stoves, Consumer Reports urged consumers who were considering purchasing a new range to think about switching to electricity in October.

More than 12% of current childhood asthma cases in the US can be linked to using gas stoves, according to fresh peer-reviewed research that was published last month in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. According to co-author Brady Seals of the study and manager of the carbon-free building program at the nonprofit clean energy organization RMI, “there have been about 50 years of health studies showing that gas stoves are bad for our health, and the strongest evidence is on children and children’s asthma.” We are polluting our homes’ interiors by having a gas connection, the speaker claimed.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission, which has about 500 employees and is based in Bethesda, Maryland, intends to open public comment on risks associated with gas stoves later this winter. Options include banning the production or import of gas stoves as well as establishing standards for the appliances’ emissions, according to Trumka.

In response, lawmakers asked the commission to take into account mandating warning labels, range hoods, and performance standards. Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and Representative Don Beyer of Virginia, both Democrats, urged action in a letter to the agency in December and referred to gas-stove emissions as a “cumulative burden” on Black, Latino, and low-income households that disproportionately experience air pollution.

In a parallel effort to reduce climate-warming emissions (like those from methane) that exacerbate climate change, state and local policymakers are focusing on the use of natural gas in buildings more broadly. A move away from fossil fuel-powered buildings is required by or encouraged by nearly 100 cities and counties. By the end of this year, the New York City Council decided to outlaw natural gas hookups in all new structures under seven stories. By unanimous vote in September, the California Air Resources Board decided to outlaw the sale of natural gas-fired furnaces and water heaters by 2030.

The sizable climate spending bill that was enacted into law in August may provide some assistance to consumers who want to switch from gas to electric ranges. As part of the approximately $4.5 billion in funding provided by the Inflation Reduction Act to assist low- and moderate-income households in electrifying, rebates of up to $840 are available for the purchase of new electric ranges. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, which speaks for producers of gas ranges like Whirlpool Corp., claims that cooking emits emissions and dangerous byproducts regardless of the type of stove being used.

Vice president of the Washington-based trade association Jill Notini said, “Ventilation is really where this discussion should be, rather than banning one specific type of technology.” “Banning one kind of cooking appliance won’t solve the problems with the general indoor air quality. We might need some behavioral adjustments, like getting people to use their hoods when cooking.

Natural gas distributors contend that a ban on natural gas stoves would increase costs for homeowners and restaurants with little benefit to the environment. Their industry is threatened by the growing trend toward electrifying homes. According to a statement from the American Gas Association, which speaks on behalf of utilities like Dominion Energy Inc. and DTE Energy Co., there are no known risks associated with gas stoves for residential consumers’ health and safety.

According to Karen Harbert, the organization’s president, “the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and EPA do not present gas ranges as a significant contributor to adverse air quality or health hazard in their technical or public information literature, guidance, or requirements.” “Including natural gas and the infrastructure that transports it is the most practical, realistic way to achieve a sustainable future where energy is clean, as well as safe, reliable, and affordable.” Republicans, however, criticized the potential action as being excessive government intervention.

According to GOP energy lobbyist Mike McKenna, “If the CPSC really wanted to do something about public health, it would ban cigarettes, or automobiles, long before it moved on to address stoves.” It is obviously political.

The commission could release its proposal as early as this year, according to Trumka, who worked for a House committee prior to joining the commission. In that capacity, he worked on issues such as the dangers of e-cigarettes and toxic heavy metals in baby food.There is a misconception that cooking of the fine-dining variety must be done on gas, according to Trumka. It’s a skillfully cultivated myth. In spite of agency leaders’ clarifications that the government is not planning an outright ban on gas stoves, the issue was still a hot one at the Consumer Protection Safety Commission on Wednesday.

The idea of a ban was first mentioned by Bloomberg News on Monday. Gas stoves are a “hidden hazard,” according to agency commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. in an interview with Bloomberg. Up until Tuesday, when CPSC Chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric voiced his opinion, national and local media outlets continued to investigate the effects of a potential ban, which wouldn’t affect stoves already installed in homes.

According to a statement the agency provided to USA Today, “CPSC has not proposed any regulatory action on gas stoves at this time.” It would take time for the commission to take any regulatory action. Biden’s proposal for fossil fuel-free federal buildings coincides with the growing “electrify everything” movement. The Residential Energy Consumption Survey conducted by the Energy Information Administration in 2020 found that 38% of American households had a gas stove.

Five states have more households using gas stoves than electric stoves, with Illinois being one of them. Gas stoves emit nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and other chemicals that have been linked to asthma, cancer, and cardiovascular disease, according to research from the American Chemical Society.

A peer-reviewed study published last month in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health suggests that 12 percent of all childhood asthma cases nationwide may be related to the use of gas stoves.

Ravi Kalhan, a professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine who teaches pulmonary and critical care medicine and conducts research on the progression of lung disease, said, “In the United States, we have not actually paid attention to a lot of these factors that are associated with respiratory health impairment because we’ve been so singularly focused on cigarette smoke.”

According to Kalhan, studies on air pollutants have also looked at the outdoors, including the dangers of living close to factories or highways. With the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, indoor air quality received more attention. Although there is currently no official ban on gas stoves, some manufacturers claim that the CPSC’s recommendation removes the ability of individuals and organisations to make decisions.

Given the relatively low cost of gas, Mark Denzler, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, called the proposed ban “aspirational.”

Once more, according to Denzler, the government is attempting to decide which goods consumers should purchase.

Recent months have seen increased pressure on the CPSC to consider restrictions on gas stoves from members of the US Senate and House of Representatives. Democratic Illinois Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi wrote that the CPSC had been aware of the potential risks of natural gas in stoves since a 1986 report from the Environmental Protection Agency in an August 2022 letter that was shared with MarketWatch.

In a follow-up statement in December, a group that included Virginia Rep. Don Beyer and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker noted that Black, Latino, and low-income households are disproportionately affected by the health effects of air pollution. In particular, Kalhan is concerned about the long-term effects of exposure to nitrogen dioxide, which can inflame the windpipe. Are you at risk of having worse lung function as an adult if you spent your entire life in a house with a gas stove and inadequate ventilation? said Kalhan. “We are currently conducting a study of that nature.”

John and Mike Abt, co-presidents of the retailer Abt Electronics, claim that until a federal ban is implemented, they do not anticipate that concerns about gas stoves will influence customers. According to John Abt, 90% of Abt customers who purchase new stoves tend to stick with the energy source of their previous stoves, and gas stoves are still widely used in Chicago.

John Abt said, “Frankly, a customer doesn’t really even know gas or electric when they come into the shop.” They ask, “Which one is better? What do you currently have? If a ban is approved, Mike Abt predicts that demand for home installations, which can cost up to $1,000, as well as sales of electric stoves, will increase.

For the time being, Kalhan advises homeowners with gas stoves to keep their kitchen vents open if the ventilation goes directly outside. Additionally, if the weather permits, he advises using an air purifier or opening windows near the kitchen. Even though Kalhan preferred using a gas stove every day, he acknowledged that mitigating the negative effects on public health was crucial for society.

New emission-reduction regulations may result in annual savings of $8 million. The Biden administration is prepared to outlaw the use of fossil fuels in federal buildings, lending weight to the growing electrification movement that has put natural gas distributors on the back foot.

By 2030, all new federal structures would have to be free of fossil fuels, according to a plan unveiled by the Energy Department on Wednesday. According to the department, the plan, which also applies to federal buildings undergoing renovations, would require buildings to reduce their on-site emissions related to energy consumption by 90% compared to 2003 levels starting in 2025.

Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm stated in a statement that adopting clean electricity and removing pollution from our buildings are two of the most practical and cost-effective ways to combat climate change. The demand comes in the midst of a thriving climate movement to “electrify everything,” which has resulted in cities from coast to coast outlawing the use of fossil fuels in brand-new structures that might interfere with natural gas distributors.

Over 1 million residents of Montgomery County, Maryland, voted last week to ban the use of natural gas for cooking and heating in new structures. Earlier versions of a mandate, which the Obama administration attempted but failed to implement, would have completely phased out the use of fossil fuels in federal buildings. Only onsite consumption, such as that used to heat buildings and water, is covered by the most recent version. The American Gas Association, which speaks for utilities like Dominion Energy Inc. and DTE Energy Co., criticized the proposal and claimed that natural gas was more cost-effective than electricity.

According to Karen Harbert, the group’s president, eliminating natural gas from federal buildings is an expensive, impractical idea that won’t have any positive environmental effects. While natural gas was once embraced by environmentalists as a bridge to a future with no emissions because it emits about half as much greenhouse gas as coal, the fuel is now demonized by many greens. Their main issues are the methane leaks—a potent greenhouse gas—and the fracking method used to produce it.

According to the Energy Department, which calculated that the new emission reduction requirements could save $8 million a year, buildings are a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions in the US, with fossil fuels used in federal buildings accounting for over 25% of all federal emissions.

The federal government’s buildings are predicted to emit 1.86 million metric tonnes less carbon dioxide and 22.8 thousand tonnes less methane over a 30-year period as a result of the requirements, according to the agency. These reductions are roughly equivalent to the emissions produced by nearly 300,000 homes in a single year.

The plan expands on a larger objective of the Biden administration to have all federal buildings emit zero emissions by 2045. Along with the Energy Department regulation, a new building performance standard was also announced by the White House Council on Environmental Quality. This standard calls for federal agencies to reduce their electricity use and electrify appliances and equipment in 30% of their building space by 2030.