An off-hand comment by a member of the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission sparked an explosion of online social media posts claiming the Biden administration would ban the use of gas stoves in homes. Locally, the Republican Party of New Mexico shared meme’s accusing Sen. Martin Heinrich of pushing for a ban as well. Is it true? Let’s check the facts:
Why are we even talking about this? An increasing number of studies show that natural gas stoves can emit dangerous levels of toxic lung irritants including nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide and formaldehyde which can be dangerous to children, pets and vulnerable adults. One recent Harvard study found that children in homes with gas stoves were 42% more likely to develop childhood asthma than those raised in non-gas homes. Burning fossil fuels also contributes to climate change.
What did the CPSC official actually say? Richard Trumka Jr., a Biden-appointed CPSC commissioner, was asked by Bloomberg news about those studies and replied that “any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.” He later clarified, “To be clear, CPSC isn’t coming for anyone’s gas stoves… Regulations apply to new products.”
So, are gas stoves being banned? The process to begin regulating indoor air quality for homes, and consumer products that contribute to it, would probably start with the EPA which currently has no standards for indoor air quality. From there, the CPSC could start to study what products contribute and if any regulations on future products could help. Neither the EPA nor the CPSC has any plans or processes in place to do that. “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 Chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric said in a statement. Neither agency has any authority to require homeowners to remove or modify existing appliances.
So, no, President Biden is not coming to take away your gas stove. Perhaps future stoves could one day be required to burn cleaner to reduce indoor air quality hazards, but no one is proposing to do that for now.