A commissioner with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is proposing a ban on gas stoves, calling them a "hidden hazard."
In an interview with Bloomberg News Monday, Richard Trumka Jr. said all options would be on the table to regulate the appliances, which have been shown to be harmful to both human health and the environment, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
"Products that can’t be made safe can be banned,” Trumka said, adding the commission could also consider imposing new emissions standards on the appliances. Trumka is one of several commissioners on the CPSC.
Trumka later clarified in a tweet that any new regulations would apply only to new appliances.
"To be clear, CPSC isn’t coming for anyone’s gas stoves. Regulations apply to new products," he said, adding the newly passed Inflation Reduction Act includes a $840 rebate to replace equipment like gas stoves.
In a statement Tuesday, a spokesperson for the CPSC said there was not yet an official proposal on the matter, and that any action to regulate the appliances would involve a "lengthy process."
"Agency staff plans to start gathering data and perspectives from the public on potential hazards associated with gas stoves, and proposed solutions to those hazards later this year," the statement said. "Commission staff also continues to work with voluntary standards organizations to examine gas stove emissions and address potential hazards."
Trumka's remarks nevertheless kicked off a series of statements from politicians opposing any effort to interfere with the use of gas stoves.
On Wednesday, CPSC Chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric issued a statement saying that while research indicated emissions from gas stoves can be hazardous, he is “not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so.”
“This spring, we will be asking the public to provide us with information about gas stove emissions and potential solutions for reducing any associated risks,” he said.
An estimated 40% of American homes still rely on gas stoves. Though some chefs favor them, they can emit hazardous levels of compounds such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide and methane, especially in poorly ventilated areas or if the stoves are not properly maintained. A recent study estimated that as many as 1 in 8 childhood asthma cases in the United States can be attributed to the presence of a gas stove in the home.
In a December letter to the CPSC, multiple U.S. senators and representatives urged it to take action on the harms of gas stoves, which they noted disproportionately affect minority and low-income communities.
"We ask the CPSC to explicitly evaluate the disparate health outcomes that occur from the coupling of gas stoves with the material realities to which the most vulnerable Americans are subjected, as well as evaluate the health impacts of gas leaks due to gas stoves connections," they wrote.
In a statement, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers said a ban would be ill-advised.
“A ban on gas cooking appliances would remove an affordable and preferred technology used in more than 40% of homes across the country," it said. "A ban would fail to address the overall concern of indoor air quality while cooking, because all forms of cooking, regardless of heat source, generate air pollutants, especially at high temperatures. A focus on increased use of ventilation is an effective solution to improve indoor air quality while cooking.”