Gas stoves: 'I am not looking to ban' them, says head of safety agency

·3-min read

Backlash over speculation of a possible nationwide ban on gas stoves prompted the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to clarify the agency's position on Wednesday.

"Contrary to recent media reports, I am not looking to ban gas stoves and the @USCPSC has no proceeding to do so," tweeted CPSC chair Alex Hoehn-Saric.

The tweet comes after criticism from Republicans and natural gas industry advocates over the possibility of a national ban following a CPSC commissioner's statements in a recent media interview.

"This is a hidden hazard,” Richard Trumka Jr., an agency commissioner, told Bloomberg earlier this week. “Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”

Trumka later clarified his comments, saying regulations apply to new products.

Initiatives to move away from gas stoves recently gained more attention after New York's Democratic governor proposed banning natural gas hookups in new buildings in order to fight climate change.

"They all fit under a theme of blue states being opposed to fossil fuels. That's the broader umbrella," David Givens, Head of Natural Gas and Power Services for North America at Argus Media told Yahoo Finance.

"The Biden Administration started out in all respects being very anti-fossil fuel and over time that has eroded somewhat, as certain proposals have been brought to life," said Givens. "Either the support is limited or they're just not practical. This may be one of those."

Givens highlights two examples: "Restauranteurs for instance, really fight this. Hotel developers who have to cook, clean and launder tons of stuff — when looking at a Megawatt versus an MMBtu— that's a lot of money to them."

The American Gas Association recently pushed back against the hazardous claims related to gas stoves.

"Any allegation that gas stoves exceed standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency and the World Health Organization is patently false. Regulators, like the Consumer Products Safety Commission, should rely on real data and science not unsubstantiated claims of advocates," said the AGA statement.

In December, a group of lawmakers sent a letter to CPSC's chair asking for more labeling and regulations to address risks associated with stoves operated by gas.

"Gas stoves emit high levels of pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and fine particulate matter," states the letter. "A range of studies have shown that, when used without adequate ventilation, cooking with a gas stove can raise indoor concentrations of these pollutants to levels that the Environmental Protection Agency considers to be unsafe even outdoors."

Alex Hoehn-Saric of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on Wednesday said in a statement the agency is "researching gas emissions in stoves and exploring new ways to address health risks." The statement went on to say "later this spring we will be asking the public to provide information about gas stoves emissions and potential solutions for reducing any associated risks."

Ines is a senior business reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @ines_ferre

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