A Biden appointee to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said in an interview Monday that a national ban on gas stoves is “on the table” this year.
CPSC Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. told Bloomberg News that gas stoves are “a hidden hazard,” citing potential air pollutants and effects on climate change. Options for the commission’s response range from setting new emissions standards to outright bans on the manufacture or import of gas stoves.
“Any option is on the table,” argued Trumka, whose father was president of the AFL-CIO. “Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”
The announcement by Trumka follows a letter from twenty congressional Democrats to CPSC Chairman Alexander Hoehn-Saric last month urging the commission to take action on gas stoves. These stoves pose an “unreasonable risk of injury” to consumers, according to the Democrats, with disproportionate effects on “Black, Latino, and low-income households.”
Industry experts have pushed back on the idea that these products should be banned.
“The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and EPA do not present gas ranges as a significant contributor to adverse air quality or health hazard in their technical or public information literature, guidance, or requirements,” argued Karen Halbert, president of the American Gas Association.
“Ventilation is really where this discussion should be, rather than banning one particular type of technology,” explained Jill Notini, a vice president at the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. “Banning one type of a cooking appliance is not going to address the concerns about overall indoor air quality.”
Even some members of the President’s party have expressed their opposition to the radical proposal. As Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) described the proposed ban as “a recipe for disaster.”
In addition to paternalistically restricting the availability of products to consumers, the push to ban gas stoves will come with costs for taxpayers: The blowout spending bill passed by Democrats in August, the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act,” included taxpayer-funded subsidies of up to $840 for people who seek to switch away from gas stoves and purchase a new electric range stove instead.
Trumka told Bloomberg that the CPSC could make a formal proposal as early as this year. The commission plans to open public comment on the issue later this winter.