Biden Official Defends His Gas-Stove-Ban Comments, Calls Backlash ‘Misdirected’

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U.S. Consumer Product Safety commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. recently defended his comments about banning natural-gas stoves, calling the blowback “misdirected” in a new interview.

Trumka told Bloomberg News earlier this month that the commission was set to open public comment on the dangers of gas stoves sometime this winter. He said the commission could set standards on emissions from stoves, or even look to ban the manufacture or import of the appliances over health concerns. While the commission’s chairman later disputed these claims, Trumka’s comments caused widespread outrage among Republican lawmakers, chefs, and others who rely upon gas stoves.

“When you learn upsetting new information about something you’ve been around for a long time — maybe your whole life — you can never predict people’s reactions,” Trumka told the Washington Post in an interview published Thursday. “And there is going to be justifiable anger, and sometimes it’s misdirected.” 

He said he hoped the debate increased awareness of the alleged health risks associated with indoor appliances.

“People have that information and can make choices for themselves at this point,” Trumka said. “That’s fantastic.”

An academic-journal article published last month claimed that 12.7 percent of childhood asthma cases were linked to the use of gas stoves in households. However, the study was funded by RMI, an environmental group that aims to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 50 percent within the next seven years, and the study’s lead author is part of RMI’s Carbon-Free Buildings initiative.

The study was not based on actual scientific research but was instead based on a mathematical formula that used information from previous studies in North America and Europe and data about the number of children living in homes with gas stoves from the American Housing Survey.

Trumka, meanwhile, acknowledged that his work on the commission and his role as a father make him “much more paranoid than the average person” about everyday hazards.

“It’s very easy to see how everyday things can be hazardous,” Trumka said.

The commission is in the “very early stages” of considering regulations on new gas stoves, according to the Washington Post report.

CPSC chairman Alexander D. Hoehn-Saric said earlier this month that he is “not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so.”

Nonetheless, Republicans on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce sent President Biden a letter at the time expressing “strong opposition” to any potential ban on gas stoves.

“This kind of intrusion into the homes of Americans by the federal government as a way of forcing rush-to-green, liberal policies is the ‘nanny state’ at its worst,” the letter reads. “Banning natural gas stoves is not about public safety – it is another example of government control; like other policies we have seen from your administration, to tell Americans what kinds of cars they can drive, how they heat their homes, and how to live their lives.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters earlier this month that Biden “does not support banning gas stoves.” She cited Hoehn-Saric’s statement and said the commission, “which is independent, is not banning gas stoves” and said the White House is “not in touch with them on this particular issue.”

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