Senators Introduce Bill to Prevent Gas Stove Ban Amid Health Concerns
Two high-profile U.S. Senators have introduced new legislation which would prevent federal regulators from banning gas stoves, amid increasing concerns about the potentially serious health threats the appliances may pose, particularly for developing children.
U.S. Senators Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, and Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, introduced the Gas Stove Protection and Freedom Act on February 2, with the goal of blocking the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) from enacting a gas stoves ban; which was discussed as a potential regulatory action, but has already been rejected as a possibility by President Joe Biden’s administration.
The bill, if passed into law, would prevent the CPSC from using federal funs to ban gas stoves, and would also prevent any regulations that would substantially increase gas stove costs.
“The federal government has no business telling American families how to cook their dinner, which is why Senator Cruz and I introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure Americans decide how to cook in their own homes,” Manchin stated in a press release. “I can tell you the last thing that would ever leave our house is the gas stove we cook on, and I will continue to fight any overreach by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.”
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In January, CPSC Commissioner Richard Trumka, Jr. made comments indicating gas stoves were a hidden health hazard, and some of his comments were believed to be suggestive of a possible ban on the appliances. However, since then CPSC officials and President Biden have already thrown out the idea of banning gas stoves.
Some critics have said the bill serves only as a “culture war” propaganda bill to address a non-existent problem. However, it comes as concerns over gas stove health risks appear to be based on sound science.
Gas Stove Health Risks
A number of studies published in recent years have warned that gas stove emissions could be a significant source of childhood asthma and other health problems.
Last month, Australian researchers published a study indicating about one out of every eight cases of childhood asthma could be caused by gas stove emissions.
The findings of the study indicated living in a home with a gas stove increases a child’s risk of having asthma by 42%, and the use of gas stoves may be responsible for nearly 13% of all childhood asthma cases diagnosed in the U.S.
Another study, published in October, found that natural gas stoves often leak hazardous chemicals, such as benzene and other volatile organic compounds, which could increase the risk of cancer.
New Gas and Electric Stove Regulations Proposed
Last week the Department of Energy announced it plans to set limits on the energy consumed by gas stoves, as well as electric ranges. However, the proposed rule is primarily focused on energy savings and environmental benefits, and not health risks.
The proposed rule would reduce energy usage of gas and electric stoves and ranges by about 30% according to some estimates, reducing nationwide energy costs by $1.7 billion, and reducing emissions of air pollutants linked to climate change. The Department of Energy indicates the new standards were mandated by Congress in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.
Appliance industry lobbyists appear to initially oppose the rulemaking, claiming the new standards may work as a stealth ban on gas stoves. However, Energy Department officials say every major manufacturer currently has products on the market that meet or exceed the proposed energy requirements, including nearly half of gas stoves.
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