Hundreds of Americans are flooding President Joe Biden’s Consumer Product Safety Commission with negative reactions to its potential gas stove regulations, with commenters urging the administration to stay out of their kitchens.
More than 400 people have submitted comments to the commission since it moved earlier this month to seek public input on gas stoves, which Biden-backed commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. says pose “hidden hazards” in American homes. Roughly 99 percent of those comments, a Washington Free Beacon review found, express opposition to new gas stove regulations. While many of the negative comments are cordial, with respondents detailing their decades of gas stove use with no ill effects, other comments are not.
“Stay the f out of this issue, jackasses,” one comment read. “How about this, try pulling your head out of your ass,” another suggested. “Please inhale my gas emissions,” urged a commenter who identified himself as “Ligma Taynt.”
The barrage of backlash comes two months after Trumka said a gas stove ban was “on the table.” “This is a hidden hazard,” the Biden appointee said of cooking with gas. “Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.” The remarks prompted a political firestorm, and both the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the White House quickly moved to walk back the threat. “The president does not support banning gas stoves,” Biden press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre assured in January.
But in the following weeks, the Biden administration began moving to target gas stoves through two different government bodies. In addition to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Biden’s Energy Department last month released an analysis of its proposed cooking appliance efficiency regulations, which it acknowledged would ban half of all gas stoves on the U.S. market from being sold. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers responded by arguing that the regulations would actually nullify a much larger proportion of the market, citing a December Energy Department test that saw 20 of 21 gas stove models fail to meet the proposed rule’s efficiency standards.
The White House declined to comment.
Although some commenters used inflammatory methods to to express their displeasure with any gas stove regulations, respondents often opted to detail their positive experiences using the appliance. One respondent, for example, identified herself as the “pleased owner of five natural gas appliances” and the “fourth or fifth generation of homeowners in my family who have owned natural gas appliances.”
The commenter went on to disclose that she was born three months premature and subsequently has “seasonal allergy-induced asthma,” a condition that she said has her gas appliances have not exacerbated.
“No doctor has ever suggested that the detectable amount of [nitrogen oxides] from cooking on a stove or seasonal use of an interior natural gas fireplace could cause my asthma,” she wrote. “Scaring the public is not the sensible way to address decarbonization and legitimate human health concerns. Climate change is real. Energy efficiency is smart. But this is a silly waste of time.”
Trumka threatened to ban gas stoves after a Colorado-based green energy group, the Rocky Mountain Institute, released a December study that attributed 13 percent of U.S. childhood asthma cases to gas stove use. Both the study’s methodology and the institute’s biases attracted criticism from academic experts, with Yale University professor Dr. Harvey Risch telling the Free Beacon that the study “does not do any research on possible association between residential natural gas use and risk of childhood asthma.” The Rocky Mountain Institute openly works to implement “an ‘economy-wide transformation’ away from oil and gas,” a mission it has partnered with the Chinese government to achieve, the Free Beacon reported in January.
Gas stoves are not the only appliances the Biden administration is targeting through regulatory action. Biden’s Energy Department in February proposed new efficiency standards that would require washing machines to use considerably less energy and water in an attempt to “confront the global climate crisis.” Those mandates could lead to a stinky situation—manufacturers and industry groups argue that the changes will reduce cleaning performance and lead to dirtier clothes and longer cycles.
It’s unclear if any regulations will emerge from the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s gas stove review. A commission spokeswoman told the Free Beacon that any regulatory action “would require a vote by the full commission, which has not expressed support for any regulation” at this point. Commission chairman Alexander Hoehn-Saric, meanwhile, said in a March 1 statement that the regulatory body is merely studying “the chronic hazards that can arise from toxic emissions.” Still, Trumka has not backed down from his calls to regulate gas stoves—he said the vote to seek public input on the appliances marked “an important milestone on the road to protecting consumers from potential hidden hazards in their homes—the emissions from gas stoves.”