The US Consumer Product Safety Commission plans to take action to address the possible pollution from indoor gas ovens, which can cause health and respiratory problems by banning the use. Many politicians would like to label the appliances racist and cause of global warming. But what if the power goes out, can’t use a electric oven easily..
“This is a hidden hazard,” Richard Trumka Jr., an agency commissioner, said in an interview. “Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”
Natural gas stoves, which are used in about 40% of homes in the US, 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, according to reports by groups such as the Institute for Policy Integrity and the American Chemical Society.
Consumer Reports, in October, urged consumers planning to buy a new range to consider going electric after tests conducted by the group found high levels of nitrogen oxide gases from gas stoves.
New peer-reviewed research published last month in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that more than 12% of current childhood asthma cases in the US can be attributed to gas stove use.
“There is 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,” said Brady Seals, a manager in the carbon-free buildings program at the nonprofit clean energy group RMI and a co-author of the study. “By having a gas connection, we are polluting the insides of our homes.”
Besides barring the manufacture or import of gas stoves, options include setting standards on emissions from the appliances, Trumka said.
Lawmakers have weighed in, asking the commission to consider requiring warning labels, range hoods and performance standards. In a letter to the agency in December, lawmakers including Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and Representative Don Beyer of Virginia, both Democrats, urged action and called gas-stove emissions a “cumulative burden” on Black, Latino and low-income households that disproportionately experience air pollution.