By John Hugh DeMastri
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include comment from a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission spokesperson.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) moved one step closer Wednesday to potentially regulating gas stoves, weeks after its chair pledged not to ban the kitchen appliances.
Commissioner Rich Trumka Jr. called for the public to submit research related to the harmful effects of gas stove emissions, particularly in connection to childhood asthma, and cost-benefit analyses of potential solutions to those problems, according to the announcement. Trumka ignited a controversy in January when he told Bloomberg that “any option was on the table” when it came to regulating gas stoves, including an outright ban, drawing criticism from many Republicans and some Democrats, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The call for information is not, in itself, a call for regulation, but the results of the investigation could be used to justify future limits on the use of gas stoves, Bloomberg reported. Both the White House and CPSC Chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric in January denied plans to ban the appliances.
“I am not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so,” Hoehn-Saric said in a brief statement.
“The [request for information] does not constitute or propose any regulatory action or ban,” a CPSC spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “CPSC has been clear that there are no regulatory proceedings planned for gas stoves or range emissions.”
The CPSC also pointed the DCNF to Chair Hoehn-Saric’s prior statement.
“CPSC is an independent agency with the sole mission of keeping people safe from consumer products that pose an unreasonable risk of harm,” Trumka, who was appointed by Biden, said in the announcement. “The trust between CPSC and the American consumer exists because actions like the one we take today make clear that we only act in service to consumer safety. This Request for Information furthers our commitment to American consumers because step one in confronting a potential hazard is understanding its scope and the options for addressing it.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and World Health Organization have argued that the emissions from gas stoves can cause respiratory illness, cancer, and heart problems, according to Bloomberg. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in February proposed rules mandating increased efficiency standards for new gas stoves and electric cooktops.
One December 2022 study, referenced by Trumka in his original interview with Bloomberg, argues that 12.7% of all childhood asthma cases could be traced to gas stove use. The study was partially funded by a pair of advocacy groups that advocate for the electrification of households and to transition the U.S. away from oil and gas.
“I have boundless optimism in American ingenuity,” Trumka said in the announcement. “I am hopeful that by bringing this information-seeking process public, companies will create new solutions or notify us of their commitment to implement existing solutions that were previously unknown to us.”
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