New York Is Quietly Moving to Ban Gas Stoves—Will More States Follow?
If you like cooking with gas, you'll want to pay attention to this news.
The U.S. is cooking with gas—literally. Research indicates that gas stoves are currently being used in more than 40 million homes around the country. But such widespread usage doesn't necessarily mean there is nothing to worry about.
Recent research has raised concerns about the impact of gas stoves on our health. And now, at least one state is considering a ban on them altogether. Read on to find out more about New York's move to ban gas stoves, and whether more states will follow.
Gas stoves could be harmful to our health.
Evidence is mounting against the use of gas stoves. A Dec. 2022 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is the most recent research pointing to trouble. According to the study, the use of indoor gas stoves is linked to an increased risk of asthma among children. In fact, the researchers found that almost 13 percent of current children asthma in the U.S. can be attributed to gas stove usage.
But this is just one of the concerns. A June 2022 study published in the Environmental Science & Technology journal found a connection between gas stoves and chemicals linked to cancer. Through samples of unburned natural gas from different houses, researchers for this study found 21 toxins, including benzene, which is a known carcinogen. Another 2022 study published in Environmental Science & Technology journal found that people can easily exceed national standards for safe hourly outdoor exposure to poisonous gases called nitrogen oxides when using gas stoves in homes with poor ventilation.
"Just because you have a gas stove doesn't mean you're guaranteed to develop asthma or cancer," Eric Lebel, a senior scientist at P.S.E. Healthy Energy, and the lead author for the third study, told The New York Times. But experts are urging caution, and now some officials are looking to take things a step further.
New York is considering a ban on gas stoves.
At least one state might force residents to ditch gas stoves soon amid mounting health concerns. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul quietly added a proposal to ban natural gas heating and appliances from new buildings in her "New York Housing Compact" plan. Hochul unveiled the strategy during her state-of-the-state address on Jan. 10, calling for the ban of fossil fuels by 2025 for newly built structures on a smaller scale, and by 2028 for larger ones. As a result, new buildings would be required to "have zero emissions and no gas stoves," Forbes explained.
"Buildings are the largest source of emissions in our state, accounting for a third of our greenhouse gas output, as well as pollution that aggravates asthma and endangers our children," Hochul said. "I'm proposing a plan to end the sale of any new fossil-fuel-powered heating equipment by 2030."
New York wouldn't be the only state to ban the appliances.
News of a potential gas stove ban in New York has already created controversy. "This is plain stupid," a 70-year-old resident of Sea Gate, Brooklyn told The New York Post. "We lost electricity before, during Hurricane Sandy. The only thing we had to heat up our food was gas. What if that happens again?" But if New York does push forward with the ban, it wouldn't be the first state to do so.
California, "became the first state to seek to prohibit natural gas appliances after the California Air Resources Board unanimously approved a ban by 2030 in September," Forbes reported. It might be harder for other states to join the fray, however. As of Feb. 2022, 21 states have adopted "preemption laws" that prohibit local officials from creating their own regulations to ban natural gas appliances in home, according to the the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
Federal officials say they're not planning to ban gas stoves.
Controversy over potential gas stove bans came to a head this week when it was suggested that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) was considering a ban. In a Jan. 9 interview with Bloomberg, CPSC Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. called gas stoves a "hidden hazard" and indicated that the agency could ban them. "Any option is on the table. Products that can't be made safe can be banned," Trumka said.
But the agency has since clarified its position: "Over the past several days, there has been a lot of attention paid to gas stove emissions and to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Research indicates that emissions from gas stoves can be hazardous, and the CPSC is looking for ways to reduce related indoor air quality hazards," Alexander Hoehn-Saric, chair of the CPSC, wrote in a Jan. 11 statement. "But to be clear, I am not looking to ban gas stoves, and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so."
The White House also indicated that President Joe Biden is not looking to ban gas stoves either. "The President does not support banning gas stoves—and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is independent, is not banning gas stoves," a spokesperson told CNN on Jan. 11.