The Biden administration has come under fire this week due to overcooked fears that it is planning a nationwide ban on gas stoves.
The claim was sparked by comments from a Consumer Product Safety Commission official published Monday that “any option is on the table” when it comes to regulating gas stoves, amid growing health concerns over the appliances. In the days after, discussion online evoked images of the government dragging four-burner cooktops from homes, as social media users shared memes of gas stoves with text like, “Don’t Tread On Me.”
“I’ll NEVER give up my gas stove. If the maniacs in the White House come for my stove, they can pry it from my cold dead hands. COME AND TAKE IT!!” conservative Texas GOP Rep. Ronny Jackson said on Twitter Tuesday.
But officials insist that people's kitchen appliances are in no danger. Here’s a closer look at the facts.
CLAIM: The Biden administration is planning a ban on gas stoves nationwide.
THE FACTS: The White House says President Joe Biden would not support a ban, and the commission, an independent agency, says no such ban is in the works.
“I am not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so,” CPSC Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric said in a statement on Wednesday.
The notion that the government may regulate some stoves out of existence in the future isn't totally baseless. In an interview published Monday by Bloomberg News, Richard Trumka Jr., a CPSC commissioner who was nominated to the post by Biden and has concerns that gas stoves emit dangerous levels of toxic chemicals, was quoted as saying: “Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”
However, Trumka tweeted later that day to clarify that he was talking about regulation on new products.
"To be clear, CPSC isn’t coming for anyone’s gas stoves," he wrote. “Regulations apply to new products.”
Despite this, news of a potential “gas stove ban" continued to spread in headlines and on social media. Some users, including Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, shared an old photo of first lady Jill Biden cooking on a gas stove, suggesting hypocrisy.
“The federal government has no business telling American families how to cook their dinner. I can tell you the last thing that would ever leave my house is the gas stove that we cook on,” West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin tweeted Tuesday.
The White House responded by distancing itself from Trumka's comments.
“The president does not support banning gas stoves," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a press briefing on Wednesday. “And the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is independent, is not banning gas stoves.”
The CPSC is studying gas stove emissions and ways to address potential health risks and is seeking public input on the issue in the spring, Hoehn-Saric noted in his statement. Pamela Rucker Springs, a spokesperson for the commission, confirmed to The Associated Press that it has not proposed any regulatory action on gas stoves.
“The chairman’s statement makes it explicit what we are planning and what we’re not planning,” Springs said. “Anything otherwise said is to the contrary.”
Research has found that gas stoves in California are leaking cancer-causing benzene, while another study determined that U.S. gas stoves are contributing to global warming by putting 2.6 million tons of methane in the air each year even when turned off. There is good evidence that gas stoves emit harmful levels of oxides of nitrogen, which is known to cause asthma, said Dr. Aaron Bernstein, interim director of the center for climate, health, and the global environment at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Some federal lawmakers have called on the commission to address the potential health risks through regulation, such as requiring that gas stoves be sold with range hoods to improve ventilation or issuing mandatory performance standards for gas stoves to address the health impacts of hazardous emissions. Some local governments have moved to ban new buildings from using natural gas, such as San Francisco and Berkeley, California.
Banning gas stoves isn't a “practical response” to the research on the harmful effects of gas stoves, Bernstein said. Instead, steps should be taken to limit prolonged use of gas stoves and improve ventilation in kitchens with gas stoves, such as using vents or opening doors and windows, he said.
“What we know is that gas stoves release air pollutants that are absolutely known to be harmful,” Bernstein said. “And the part that’s harder to get clarity on is how much exposure are people getting in their homes.”
This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.