Are Gas Stoves Getting Banned? Here's What You Need to Know

Confused? We're breaking down what's really happening.

If you’ve perused social media over the last few days, odds are you’ve come across a post or two from someone proudly announcing to the world that they own a gas stove and will never, ever, get rid of it. Confused? So are a lot of people. There’s even an entire Reddit Out of the Loop thread about it. Here’s what you need to know about why the internet is up in arms over gas stoves right now.

A gas stove with pots

Image Source / Getty Images

How it started

On Monday, Richard Trumka Jr., a U.S. Consumer Product Safety commissioner, gave an interview with Bloomberg where he stated that gas stoves could potentially be a health hazard and that, one day, gas stoves could be banned.

“This is a hidden hazard,” Trumka Jr. said. “Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.” 

This wouldn’t be the first time a government agency came for gas stoves. The Los Angeles Times reported, in May 2022, The Los Angeles City Council voted to ban most gas appliances in new homes and other construction. The Times noted other cities, including New York, San Francisco, and Seattle, have similar measures. (It’s important to highlight that these measures are for new construction projects only. The measures are not forcing those with older homes and businesses to retroactively switch to electric.) 

Though the debate over the hazards of gas stoves has been quietly rumbling for some time, Trumka’s comments were the ones to finally set off a political firestorm. Republican political leaders even called the potential ban a “recipe for disaster.” The debate even caused a spike in search traffic on google, specifically for “gas stove” and “gas stove ban U.S.” 

How it’s going

On Wednesday, Alex Hoehn-Saric, the chairman of the CPSC, took to Twitter to clarify what’s actually happening. 

“I want to set the record straight. Contrary to recent media reports, I am not looking to ban gas stoves and the @USCPSC has no proceeding to do so,” the tweet read. It included the following statement: 

“Over the past several days, there has been a lot of attention paid to gas stove emissions and to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Research indicates that emissions from gas stoves can be hazardous, and the CPSC is looking for ways to reduce related indoor air quality hazards. But to be clear, I am 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 engaged 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. This is part of our product safety mission — learning about hazards and working to make products safer.” 

A White House spokesperson also issued a statement to the press on behalf of President Joe Biden, explaining, “The President does not support banning gas stoves, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is independent, is not banning gas stoves.”

Are gas stoves actually bad? 

To understand if gas stoves are potentially bad for your health, you must first understand how gas stoves work. How to Fix It explained, “...[A] gas stove sends air and gas through a burner assembly. As the gas flows through the burner, a starter will generate sparks to ignite that gas into continuous flames. Those flames will continue to burn as you put your cookware on top of them for however long it takes to cook your meal.” 

It’s a pretty straightforward process. However, there are concerns about natural gas escaping both before the flame ignites and when a user turns on their stove. One study out of Stanford showed that every gas stove it tested leaked methane gas, even when it was turned off. Scientific American also noted, when a stove is turned on, it creates nitrogen oxides, which has been shown to irritate human lungs. 

A peer-reviewed study published in December in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health backed up that claim, finding that “Indoor gas stove use for cooking is associated with an increased risk of current asthma among children.” The researchers added, they “found that 12.7% of current childhood asthma in the US is attributable to gas stove use.” 

However, the study has some questioning its results, including Dr. Ran Goldman, a pediatrics professor at the University of British Columbia, who shared with Global News, “There may be a role to reduce emissions of gas, whether within the house or outside, in order to prevent some children with asthma, but it’s really hard to grasp that 13% of children are having asthma just because of this exposure to gas emission from stoves at home.” (In the discussion of their results, the researchers noted its study does have limitations, “for example, we rely on aggregate data, although we have quantified our uncertainty and have still found a significant public health burden.”)

Much of the dangers with gas stoves appear to be from poor ventilation. To keep yourself and your family safe, California’s Air Resources Board suggests using your range hood whenever you cook with a gas stove, or open windows if a range hood isn’t an option. 

However, even the use of proper ventilation may not be an option for all. In December, several lawmakers sent a letter to the CPSC stating, “These emissions can create a cumulative burden to households that are already more likely to face higher exposure to both indoor and outdoor air pollution. Statistics show that Black, Latino, and low-income households are more likely to experience disproportionate air pollution, either from being more likely to be located near a waste incinerator or coal ash site, or living in smaller homes with poor ventilation, malfunctioning appliances, mold, dust mites, secondhand smoke, lead dust, pests, and other maintenance deficiencies.” 

So, what’s next? 

Really, not much. The CPSC provided CNN with a statement explaining that the agency has yet to propose any action, and even if and when they do, it will be a “lengthy process.”

“Agency staff plans to start gathering data and perspectives from the public on potential hazards associated with gas stoves, and proposed solutions to those hazards later this year,” the commission said. “Commission staff also continues to work with voluntary standards organizations to examine gas stove emissions and address potential hazards.”

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