The year 2022 wasn’t great for natural gas stoves. Bad press in the form of warnings of health hazards associated with the American kitchen staple’s use popped up nearly all year. Though young, the year 2023 hasn’t started off great either: a commissioner at the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a U.S. federal agency, says a ban on gas stoves isn’t off the table. So are gas stoves banned? What is the Consumer Product Safety Commission? Do gas stoves pose a health risk? Here’s what you need to know.
Are Gas Stoves Banned?
Gas stoves are not banned. Stories circulating the internet and politicians suggesting otherwise about their being banned are premature, but a commissioner at the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a federal agency aimed at reducing risk of injury or worse associated with the use of consumer products, stated that any option to make gas ranges safe is on the table. The exactly passage and quote, found in Bloomberg, reads as follows:
“‘This is a hidden hazard,’ Richard Trumka Jr., an agency commissioner, said in an interview. ‘Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.'”
So, again, gas stoves are not banned. The agency responsible for keeping consumer products safe is saying a ban is not off the table, but doesn’t directly address a ban specifically, which moves us to why a gas stove is being discussed at all.
Gas Stove Health Risks
Whether you’re aware of it or not, gas stoves pose a number of health risks to the roughly 40 percent of Americans with them in their homes.
Nitrogen oxides (NOx)
Already common outdoors thanks to cars, planes, and power plants, nitrogen oxides play a role in causing the haze in smog, and that gas ranges may release it at a rate twice that of what is permitted outdoors by the EPA, according to Consumer Reports. This is not good. Recent research suggests exposure to nitrogen oxides—which are clusters of poisonous, reactive gas—is associated with worsening existing respiratory issues, as well as increasing the risk of childhood asthma.
High levels of carbon dioxide can cause dizziness, start headaches, increase heart rate, and more less than pleasant things. Without proper ventilation, a gas stove can release carbon dioxide and push a kitchen to unhealthy—or unsafe—levels of the gas indoors.
Though discussed less than carbon dioxide or the more recently understood nitrogen oxides, methane—which is released from natural gas stoves while on or off—is a greenhouse gas that carries many of the same risks as high levels of other airborne toxins. Respiratory irritation and links to higher rates of lung and heart issues, as well as heightened asthma problems.
How to Reduce Gas Stove Risks
Gas buildup when using a gas stove is mitigated by ventilation. If you want to avoid any potential hazards, turn on your range hood. If you don’t have a range hood, open a window, though Consumer Reports suggests the installation of a range hood should take priority if one doesn’t already exist.
Though the best solution is the most obvious: replace your natural gas stove with an electric or induction range, both of which do not release a flood of harmful gases into the air upon use.