As stoves join M&M and become another unlikely subject of politicized debate in the United States, the ban on gas stoves suddenly made the news.
In recent weeks, gas stoves have been denounced as dangerous to both public health and the planet and should be phased out. For others, the notion is silly.
In fact, while the controversy may be new, the facts surrounding it are mostly well known.
On the health side, studies dating back to the 1980s show that unvented natural gas stoves can cause indoor air pollution that is harmful to young lungs. Climate change concerns have also prompted some places to try to stop new gas lines from running into new construction.
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Here’s what you need to know about the gas stove controversy.
What sparked the recent concerns about gas stoves?
Over the past few years, cultural issues surrounding gas stoves have been in the news. The latest round took place on January 9, when Richard Trumpka Jr., chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, said natural gas stoves were a “hidden hazard” and banned unsafe products. He later retracted the statement.
At the same time, about 100 cities or counties and three states have introduced new building codes that either prohibit the installation of natural gas connections in new homes and buildings or provide incentives for not doing so.
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Note that this does not affect the majority of Americans. Most studies show that 35-40% of US stoves use natural gas. Overall, natural gas is the least used in the southeast of the country, but most common in the west, midwest, and northeast.
Are gas stoves bad for you?
they can Gas stoves with poor ventilation can cause health problems in your home. A Harvard University study published in June found that natural gas contains varying levels of volatile organic chemicals, making it more likely to leak than it actually is. A December study linked gas stove use to an increased risk of current asthma in children.
Natural gas is methane. Burning produces small amounts of detectable amounts of nitrogen dioxide and other pollutants. Indoor exposure with poor ventilation is associated with more severe asthma.
- problem: Two-thirds to three-quarters of Americans rarely turn on the fan on their stove, says Rob Jackson, a professor of energy and the environment at Stanford University.
- Or worse: Many homes and apartments have either poorly ventilated stoves or fans that simply recirculate the air through filters that do not remove nitrogen oxides.
How can I make my gas stove safer?
Turn on the fan or open the window every time you use the stove.
Aaron Bernstein, Ph.D., a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, said, “Ventilation can dramatically reduce emissions to very low levels that are unlikely to cause substantial harm.
Make sure the fan is venting outside, not just the filter blowing back into the kitchen.
According to Molly Kyle, an environmental epidemiologist at Oregon State University, children who lived in homes that used ventilation all the time when the gas stove was on were 36% less likely to be diagnosed with asthma. rice field.
If you don’t have a fan, open windows and doors while cooking, Bernstein said.
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Are gas stoves bad for climate change?
yes. And that’s a big reason why efforts are being made in some areas to phase out natural gas from new buildings.
Natural gas, also known as methane, has replaced coal as the fastest growing fossil fuel in the last decade. Although it emits less carbon dioxide than coal, methane combustion is still far from carbon neutral.
“Natural gas burning has caused 8 billion tons of carbon dioxide pollution annually,” Jackson said.
Carbon dioxide and methane are the main greenhouse gases causing climate change.
According to his research, 40 million gas stoves in the US produce pollution equivalent to the exhaust emissions of 500,000 cars annually.
Natural gas ban: where and why
“Gas stove bans” primarily refers to efforts to prevent the installation of new pipes for natural gas rather than removing existing stoves.
It is meant to help wean the country off fossil fuels. New buildings for natural gas mean decades of increased use of fossil fuels at a time when the country is moving away from such fuels and moving to all-electric construction.
“No one has broken into their homes and ripped gas stoves out of people’s kitchens,” Jackson said.
- California: 73 cities and counties have adopted building codes that require new residential and commercial buildings to be all-electric. Some of them have carve-outs for commercial kitchens so they can continue to use their methane-burning stoves.
- Elsewhere in the US: Another 26 cities and three states (Maryland, Colorado, and Washington) have enacted or are planning building codes requiring new construction to be all-electric.
- Backlash – Prohibition Prohibition: There are efforts led by the natural gas industry to preemptively ban these building codes. So far, 20 states have passed such legislation, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.
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