Debunking the misinformation about gas vs. electric stoves

the discussion about the future From a gas grill that worked years ago, long before last week, when it devolved into a full-blown culture war.

Public health officials, researchers, and clinicians have long taken note of Research galore Contamination from gas stoves has been linked to respiratory problems, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced in December that it was studying health risks to determine what regulations would be appropriate for gas stoves.

But after a CPSC member told Bloomberg in an interview last week that “products that can’t be made safe can be banned,” excitement quickly generated. Republicans (and some Democrats) touted the commissioner’s remark as a sign that the Biden administration was coming for the gas stove as its next assault on American freedom. And many advocates of the gas stove have come out, insisting that it is the best way to cook.

The quarrel spawned some new myths about regulating gas stoves – and perpetuated long-running misunderstandings. Here’s how to separate fact from fiction.

Myth 1: Biden — or federal regulators — want to take down your gas stove

The ensuing hysteria when the Consumer Product Safety Commission said it would take a closer look at gas stoves can be summed up by tweet From Rep. Ronnie Jackson (R-Texas). “I will never give up my gas stove. If the lunatic in the White House comes for my stove, they can get it out of my cold, dead hands. Come get it!!”

Some of the confusion comes from remarks made by Richard Trumka Jr., commissioner of the Commodity Security and Safety Commission, who told Bloomberg that “any option” is on the table as the independent agency considers the risks posed by gas stoves: “Products that cannot be made safe can be banned, ” He said. CPSC later Explain these notesThe commission said that no ban is under consideration, and “the CPSC is looking for ways to reduce related indoor air quality risks.”

There are plenty of other options, such as requiring range hood ventilation to be sold along with gas stove and warning labels, that the commission could consider before imposing an outright ban. And any CPSC regulation for stoves applies to new products being sold, not those already in people’s homes.

Besides, it’s not the White House that calls all the shots here. CPSC commissioners are appointed by the president, but otherwise, its regulations are not vetted by the White House, unlike the EPA process. Countries and cities are already taking action to reduce the climate and health risks associated with flaring gas indoors.

The White House said It does not support bansbut it strengthens incentives through the Reducing Inflation Act that help people voluntarily electrify their homes.

Myth 2: The dangers of “new” gas stoves

in Message To Trumpka, a member of the Consumer Product Safety Committee, Senator J.D. Vance (R-OH) called the gas stove a “hidden danger” that was recently discovered “based on limited research.” In another section, Vance says there is a “lack of convincing evidence.”

The study that attracted national attention estimated Nearly 13 percent of childhood asthma cases in the United States are related to gas stove use, similar to the level caused by secondhand smoke. This study is based on a review of evidence from 2013, which examined 41 studies from multiple countries, dating back to 1977, to conclude that children who lived in homes with gas stoves had 42 percent An increased risk of currently having asthma and a 24 percent increased risk of developing asthma at some point in their life.

Although the effects of gas cooking and indoor nitrogen oxides2 On asthma and wheezing it was found to be relatively small… The public health impact may still be significant because gas cooking is so widespread, the authors of a 2013 review of the evidence concluded.

These studies looked at the effect of cooking with gas specifically. But there is a longer track of studies looking at the polluting nitrogen dioxide, which is emitted from gas stoves, and the harm it does to people who are exposed to it outdoors. In fact, not outdoors2 Pollution is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, which has done its own comprehensive reviews number2 Risks.

Myth 3: No type of cooking can compare to a gas stove

The notion that gas is vastly superior to all of its alternatives is pervasive and is being eagerly pushed by both appliance makers and the natural gas industry. Whirlpool, which makes both gas and electric, says it’s a reality website“If you want to prepare meals that require rapid temperature changes, gas ranges may be the way to go.”

Comparisons of gas and electric are usually apples and oranges: contemporary gas stove vs. vintage electric stoves. The best modern equivalent is induction, which uses electromagnetic energy that makes the pans themselves a source of heat, keeping the actual stove relatively cool. These new models come with settings that allow you to cook precisely at a specific temperature and retain that heat, with less risk of burns. Other positive reviews indicate that induction cooktops are easier to clean and can boil water faster than gas cooktops.

Chefs are also more divided about induction vs. gas than the public realises. In an interview with Vox, Detroit-based chef John Kong, pointed out He prefers induction because it improves indoor air quality and heat in the home. He also noted that you can use pans with it, which is a common complaint about going off gas. Sierra Magazine spoke to other chefs who… prefer induction. “For me, it was an economical no-brainer,” Chef Michael Godlowsky said when opening an all-inclusive restaurant in Pittsburgh in spring 2022 called EYV (Eat Your Vegetables). “They asked me where I wanted the gas line, and I said, ‘Nowhere.'”

expensive induction range; He can run you thousands of dollars. But the cost is coming down. One program that some households may qualify for is the Inflation Control Act kitchen appliance tax credits and rebates. the 25C tax credits It covers a range of energy-saving products for the home, including an induction range. It allows you to deduct 30 percent of the home’s electrical costs (up to $1,200). Later this year, discounts will also be available within a range High Efficiency Electric Home Rebate Program. Households that account for up to 150 percent of the average local income will reduce the initial device and installation costs. Low-income families (less than 80 percent of the average income) can cover all their costs under the programme.

Meanwhile, families who don’t want to wait or aren’t eligible can also choose to file Portable induction hobwhich costs much less and is suitable for the tenant.

Myth 4: Most of America uses gas stoves

Gas stoves are common but not ubiquitous. According to the Energy Information Administration, on average, 38 percent of the country uses gas for cooking, or about 40 million stoves. But these numbers vary greatly depending on where you are. New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and California have the highest rates of gas stoves in the country, over 60 percent. Southeast countries It has some of the lowest rates in the country, under 20 percent.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has responded to the CPSC uproar before Twitter“I can tell you the last thing that might leave my house is the gas stove we cook on.”

Manchin himself may have a gas grill, but many in his state do not. In fact, cleared from EIA In 2020, a quarter of West Virginia’s population was found to have gas cookers, while 73 percent of them use electric.

The consequences of gas appliances are not evenly distributed either. Children, who have smaller lungs, are more likely to develop complications from NO2So are the elderly and people with preexisting health conditions. Another risk factor is if the person has already been exposed to other sources of contamination in addition to the stove. They may live near a highway, an industrial site, or even in an area with concentrated gas appliances that all vent outside, so they breathe polluted air both outside and inside.

Myth 5: As long as you use ventilation, the risks don’t matter

The American Gas Association website asserts that with a vent such as a Work scope coverGas stove is not a problem for indoor air quality. The Wall Street Journal editorial board echo This: “Studies flogged for residual climate don’t account for the effects of ventilation. One even sealed a test kitchen in plastic tarps in an effort to show that gas stoves increase pollution.”

Kitchen ventilation is the only solution we have to reduce exposure to pollutants when the stove or oven is on. In practice, however, some hoods do not vent air outdoors, but rather recycle it indoors, or people may be in a small space where pollution builds up more quickly. Some of the problems are behavioral – like people not using the cap they have, by neglecting to turn it on. Some of the problems are that not all hoods are able to filter NO2 levels. as a journalist Michael Thomas explainedRange hoods don’t always work well in the real world. studies, such as in Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) Found that razor-compliant hoods in California still grab about half of the NO2 pollution.

more modern Research from LBNL I found that a gas stove could be too methane leak, a greenhouse gas, even when the device is turned off. Inside the house, the methane level is likely low enough that researchers don’t consider these leaks a health threat. But methane is also a bigger problem, not only because of its climate hazards but because it contributes to ground-level ozone, which is harmful to human health.

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