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Is the government really coming for your gas stove?

The kitchen appliance has become a political hot potato

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Photo (c) A1 Rosi Eye/Em - Getty images
Earlier this month the White House felt compelled to address reports that the Biden administration was open to a ban on the use of gas stoves in U.S. households. The White House says it is not.

“The president does not support banning gas stoves,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters. “And the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which is independent, is not banning gas stoves. I just want to be very clear on that.”

The subject came up after Republicans pounced on comments by Richard Trumka Jr., a member of the CPSC, who called gas stoves a “hidden hazard” during an interview with Bloomberg News.

Gas stoves have been used in American kitchens for 100 years but in recent months have become somewhat controversial. Natural gas is a fossil fuel and Democrats generally frown on it. 

But chefs, both professional and amateur, seem to prefer gas ranges for their ability to finely tune heat. As of 2020, about 38% of the country’s households were using natural gas for cooking, according to U.S. Census data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Popular in Democratic states

In four states — New Jersey, California, Illinois and New York — approximately 60% to 70% of homes cook with gas. Since all four states are “deep blue,” it makes the gas stove controversy a political hot potato for Democrats.

Who would want to ban gas stoves? Republicans say environmentalists are behind it, part of a campaign to discourage the use of all fossil fuel. In his interview, Trumka seemed to lay his cards on the table. 

“We need to be talking about regulating gas stoves, whether that’s drastically improving emissions or banning gas stoves entirely,” he said. “I think we ought to keep that possibility of a ban in mind, because it’s a powerful tool in our belt, and it’s a real possibility here.”

Trumka said gas stoves can release dangerous levels of toxic chemicals, even when they aren’t being used. In a tweet in response to the controversy his remarks triggered, Trumka said the CPSC would “consider all approaches to regulation.”

The Sierra Club, a major environmental group, is in Trumka’s corner on this one. The group claims that gas stoves are a major contributor to childhood asthma. 

The group cites a recent study it says shows nearly 13% of all asthma cases in children in the U.S. can be linked to indoor air pollution caused by the burning of fossil gas in kitchens. 

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