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Hot debate: Should gas stove be banned?

Studies have shown that some of the chemicals released by gas stoves have been linked to certain health conditions, including asthma and certain kinds of cancer.

SAN DIEGO — It's a topic that's generating some heated debate: could gas stoves eventually be banned in the United States?

'Hidden hazard'

The Consumer Product Safety Commission raised that possibility this week. with one of its commissioners warning that using gas stoves is "a hidden hazard."

Thirty-five percent of households in the U.S. use gas stoves, and that number here in California is almost double. 

However, several studies have shown that some of the chemicals released by gas stoves have been linked to certain health conditions, including asthma.

Many San Diegans who use gas stoves instead of electric ones have strong opinions on their choice.

"It heats up fast and cooks quick and it cleans quick," said University City resident Lisa Williams. "That's what I love about it!"

"It's clean, it's quick, it's quiet and it doesn't fail when the power goes out," added San Diegan Erica Jones. 

They can get heated when a possible ban on gas stoves is suggested.

"I think taking away people's gas stoves to be honest with you is rather silly," said Jones. 

"What else are they going to take away from us?," added Williams.

What's being considered

Earlier this week, Commissioner Richard Trumka, Jr. with the Consumer Product Safety Commission said that a possible ban on gas stoves is being considered, stating that "any option is on the table. Products that can't be made safe can be banned."

That is something he also confirmed last month.

"Unfortunately the vast majority of Americans have no idea that every time they cook, they could be subjecting themselves and their loved ones to toxic chemicals," Trumka said in December.

Among those chemicals, according to several studies, are nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide.

One study found that nearly 13% of current childhood asthma nationwide is attributed to gas stove use.

Another study last fall by PSE Healthy Energy, a research and policy institute in the Bay Area, analyzed gas samples from stoves in 159 homes throughout California.

"Every sample of gas had levels of air pollutants in the gas," senior scientist Eric Lebel told CBS 8 in October. 

That included the cancer-causing chemical benzene, found in all but one sample collected.

While the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said it plans to solicit public comment later this year on a possible ban on gas stoves, a tweet by Trumka on Tuesday clarified that any revised regulations would apply to new products, adding "CPSC isn't coming for anyone's gas stoves," while also pointing out the federal government is offering rebates for Americans choosing to switch from gas to electric.

This is part of President Biden's Inflation Reduction Act passed last year, including a rebate of up to $840 for an electric stove or other electric appliances and up to $500 to help cover the cost of converting to electric from gas.

Already in the cities of San Diego and Encinitas, along with dozens of other cities statewide, natural gas hook-ups have been banned in new construction.

WATCH RELATED: Study finds gas appliances in California homes leaking hazardous chemicals (Oct. 2022).


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