Blue states are calling for the Consumer Product Safety Commission to do more to address the health risks of gas stoves, following decades of research detailing the appliances’ harmful effects on indoor air quality.
In public comments Monday, attorneys general from nine states and the District of Columbia, as well as leading attorneys from New York City, said the commission should move to create either voluntary standards or mandatory regulations to reduce emissions from the appliances.
Gas stoves are used by 40 million Americans and contribute to harmful levels of indoor carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, fine particle pollution, formaldehyde, benzene and other pollutants.
These pollutants pose the greatest risk to children, elderly people and those with respiratory illnesses, the attorneys general said.
Only one of those pollutants — carbon monoxide — is currently regulated for gas stoves.
“The States are particularly interested in measures that will reduce the harms associated with gas stoves due to their disproportionate impact on underserved communities,” the attorneys general said.
The comments came in response to a request from the commission for input on whether it should collect information on the chronic hazards of gas stoves.
Along with new regulation, the coalition also called for the commission to increase awareness about the risks of gas stoves through public education and by adding warning labels to stoves.
Some states have already taken action on their own to limit harm from gas stoves. New York, Massachusetts, California, Washington state, Oregon and the District of Columbia have introduced measures to either phase out gas stoves in new buildings or set ventilation standards for the appliances.
The attorneys general noted that the commission had raised concerns about the health effects of gas stoves dating back to 1985.
They cited a recent study done with the New York Public Housing Authority that found that the concentration of nitrogen dioxide surpassed EPA standards for outdoor air quality, and the problem was made worse by homes that lacked proper ventilation.
Gas leaks and incomplete combustion of gas also increased levels of volatile organic compounds like benzene that raised the risks of illnesses like asthma and cancer, they wrote.
While the coalition suggested voluntary standards in collaboration with industry could be a viable option, it said they could also result in controls that are inadequate to protect public health.
“Due to this possibility and the importance of protecting the health of consumers, the CPSC should initiate a rulemaking to develop mandatory gas stove standards,” the coalition said.
Attorneys general from Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, Oregon, Vermont and Washington also joined the public comments.