A federal safety commissioner’s comments about potentially banning gas stoves turned into a media frenzy about climate change and individual liberty.
- In a Monday interview, Consumer Product Safety Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. suggested that gas stoves could be banned by the federal government—to address air pollutants released by stoves in 40% of U.S. households—or that stoves could be more heavily regulated to control the chemical output.
- “This is a hidden hazard. Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned,” says Trumka.
- Several studies have been released in recent years suggesting that gas stoves emit nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and other particulates that contribute to 12% of childhood asthma cases, in addition to cardiovascular issues, cancer, and respiratory illness, Bloomberg reports.
- The proposal was met with widespread social media outrage, with many partisan conservatives condemning the proposal and partisan progressives applauding the potential ban and criticizing the backlash.
- Commission Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric released a statement on Wednesday affirming that the federal government is not planning to ban gas stoves but is continuing research into the associated hazards.
Why It’s News
As with many things in the green revolution, nothing is off the table in terms of discussion as to whether it ought to be reduced or eliminated for the cause of improving public health or reducing climate change. Several cities and states have already made inquiries into banning new hookups for gas stoves on similar grounds, although Monday’s backlash reflects the news hitting mainstream attention.
“Parallel efforts by state and local policymakers are targeting the use of natural gas in buildings more broadly, in a push to reduce climate-warming emissions, such as methane, that exacerbate climate change,” says Bloomberg.
National Review Online downplayed the study as biased, alarmist, and unsubstantiated, claiming that the group that published it is biased towards environmental causes—sparking a moral panic against a common household item. “It’s based on looking at previous studies from North America and Europe, making extrapolations about the number of children living in homes with gas stoves from data in the American Housing Survey, and then coming up with a mathematical formula to get the result that the authors wanted.”
The Washington Post alternatively affirmed scientific claims about the health and climate change risks associated with gas stoves, claiming that the natural gas industry has propagandized the public to slow electric stoves. “Beginning in the 1930s, the gas industry released commercials, advertisements, and slogans connecting ‘cooking with gas’ with culinary bliss. In recent years, gas companies have hired PR firms to oppose local bans on gas appliances in new buildings—with representatives sometimes infiltrating neighborhood social media groups.”
Representative Ronny Jackson (R-TX) tweeted, “I’ll NEVER give up my gas stove. If the maniacs in the White House come for my stove, they can pry it from my cold dead hands. COME AND TAKE IT!!”
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) condemned the proposal, saying, “This is a recipe for disaster. The federal government has no business telling American families how to cook their dinner. I can tell you the last thing that would ever leave my house is the gas stove that we cook on.”
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) claims stove ovens have been connected to “reduced cognitive performance,” citing an article from Vox Media.
Media Matters researcher Jason Campbell dismissed the backlash, saying, “not a single conservative pundit has ever thought about their gas stove before today.”