Best Buy urged to protect consumer health with gas stoves labeling

Media Contacts

Arizona PIRG Education Fund

The typical gas stove, when not properly vented, can produce air pollution levels indoors that exceed outdoor air standards. Yet millions across the country rely on gas stoves for cooking. Studies show that many households don’t have exhaust hoods or don’t use them regularly, meaning their stoves are not vented appropriately. According to the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, part of the problem is that retailers don’t provide adequate warnings to inform consumers of the dangers or need for ventilation.

To address this problem, the Arizona PIRG Education Fund has joined with other State PIRG Education Funds to launch a new campaign calling on Best Buy to take a leadership role in the industry, and better educate consumers shopping for new stoves. As the third largest appliance retailer in the U.S. with over 1,000 store locations nationwide, the company has a large reach. By placing warning labels on gas stoves, the organization said that Best Buy could dramatically raise public awareness and help Americans avoid indoor air pollution. 

“Consumers deserve to have adequate warning of potential dangers of products, particularly when it comes to a costly, long-term decision like purchasing a kitchen appliance,” said Diane E. Brown, Executive Director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund. “Cooking with gas stoves often emits harmful, unvented pollution directly into homes. Retailers, like Best Buy, have a responsibility to their customers to warn them of the potential dangers and health impacts of gas stoves sold in their stores.”

Burning gas for cooking releases carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), formaldehyde and particulate matter into the home. Running a stove for as little as one hour can lead to concentrations of these unsafe pollutants that far exceed health-based standards. Exposure to these pollutants can cause asthma to develop, especially in children, and worsen symptoms for people with preexisting respiratory illnesses.

“Families can protect themselves from the potential health impacts of gas stoves by using proper ventilation while cooking or switching to safer electric or induction options,” said Brown. “But first, they need to be aware that these solutions exist.”

Arizona PIRG Education Fund’s new campaign asserts that Best Buy should place warning labels on gas stoves that describe the health risks of combusting gas indoors without proper ventilation, as well as educate their sales force to be able to talk about the issue with customers. 

The campaign also calls on Best Buy to adjust their marketing material to emphasize the benefits of electric and induction cooktops. Cooking with electric and induction technology offers a healthier, safer, and more energy efficient choice for consumers, as electric and induction cooktops are compatible with renewable energy. The organization said this would also help accomplish Best Buy’s goal to help their customers reduce carbon emissions by 20% by 2030

“Best Buy is a trusted brand built on introducing their customers to the best and newest technology, which is not gas-powered. Putting warning labels on gas stoves would not only raise consumer awareness of the health risks of cooking with gas, but also allow Arizonans to make better decisions, and help usher in the transition to safer, cleaner, and superior electric options,” Brown concluded.

Learn more via the fact sheet Gas Stoves: A Hidden Health Risk In Plain Sight.