A U.S. federal agency has advanced its proposal on banning gas stoves from American homes after it was first floated by one of its commissioners in January.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a request for information on gas stove hazards.
On March 1, the CPSC announced it is seeking information from the public “on chronic chemical hazards from gas ranges.”
The commission released a draft public notice on the request for information but has not released the final notice.
The final one should be published in the Federal Register next week, a commission spokesperson revealed.
Members of the public are being told they’re welcome to submit comments on how many U.S. homes have gas ranges, how the commission should evaluate risks related to gas stove usage, and what information should be part of labels with warnings about hazards on stoves, among other aspects of the issue.
The commission is also requesting “proposed solutions to those hazards.”
The vote to approve the publication of the notice was 3–1.
Commissioners Mary Boyle, Richard Trumka Jr., and Chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric voted in favor of the move, while Commissioner Peter Feldman voted against it.
Trumka, a President Joe Biden appointee, floated a ban on gas stoves in January, as Slay News reported.
“Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned,” he told Bloomberg at the time.
Trumka also wrote in an internal memorandum that “the need for gas stove regulation has reached a boiling point.”
He stated that the commission “has the responsibility to ban consumer products that emit hazardous substances, particularly, when those emissions harm children, under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act.”
“There is sufficient information available for CPSC to issue an NPR in FY 2023 proposing to ban gas stoves in homes,” Trumka also wrote.
NPR stands for “notice of proposed rulemaking.”
The White House and Hoehn-Saric later said they weren’t in favor of banning gas stoves.
Some lawmakers have introduced bills that would block the CPSC from banning gas stoves.
The approved request for information (RFI) “does not constitute or propose any regulatory action or ban,” Hoehn-Saric said in a statement this week.
“The chronic hazards that can arise from toxic emissions should be studied and that is what we are doing with this RFI. I welcome the public’s input and data during the comment period.”
The RFI was initiated by Trumka during an October 2022 meeting.
Trumka was prepared to introduce a rule that would direct staff to prepare and submit to the commission a notice of proposed rulemaking for gas stoves.
However, acknowledging a lack of support for the rule, Trumka offered a substitute amendment instead, that would direct staff to prepare an RFI. The prepared RFI was later approved.
Trumka said in a new statement after the approval that “step one in confronting a potential hazard is understanding its scope and the options for addressing it.”
He said he was looking forward to “learning more about the chronic health effects of nitrogen dioxide emissions and particulate matter emissions from gas stoves.”
He added later, “Are there technologies that can eliminate any unreasonable hazards? If technologies to improve the performance of gas stoves are not commercially viable or not demonstrated to be safe, what options remain?”
Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) said in a statement that the administration “is once again taking steps toward possibly regulating gas stoves.”
She added, “Make no mistake—this is NOT about product safety, it’s about government control.”
Trumka and other gas stove critics have pointed to research including a study from the Rocky Mountain Institute, an environmental group, to support their efforts to restrict or ban the stoves.
That group, though, later said the study did not assume a causal relationship between the stoves and asthma.
The RFI comes after the Department of Energy proposed new rules for gas stoves and other cooking appliances.
“As required by Congress, the Department of Energy is proposing efficiency standards for gas and electric cooktops—we are not proposing bans on either,” a spokesperson for the department said in February.
The proposal would block approximately half of the gas cooking appliances currently on the market, the DOE said in a recent analysis.
Jill Notini, an industry spokesperson for the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, warns that the proposed rules were “stringent” and that the department appears to be intending to “eliminate gas products from the market.”