Maker of GE Appliances faces lawsuit for failing to warn customers of gas stove pollution health risks

Media Contacts
Abe Scarr

Energy and Utilities Program Director, U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Testing of appliance models found elevated nitrogen dioxide levels

WASHINGTON – The consumer group U.S. PIRG Education Fund filed a lawsuit in the District of Columbia Superior Court on Thursday against Haier US Appliance Solutions, maker of GE Appliances, alleging that the company is violating the District’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act by failing to warn consumers that normal operation of its gas stoves produces air pollution at levels that can be harmful to human health. 

Rather than seeking damages, the complaint asks the court to order Haier to warn District consumers that GE Appliances stoves produce air pollutants that pose a health risk, and to display information about steps consumers can take to protect their health when operating a gas stove.

“Gas stoves can be harmful to our health when used as directed, but this crucial information is not broadly available to the public,” said U.S. PIRG Education Fund Energy and Utilities Program Director Abe Scarr. “Our testing found results consistent with decades of research documenting health-harming pollution from gas stoves. Consumers have a right to know, and manufacturers are obligated to disclose, these risks.” 

A study from Stanford released this month found that gas and propane stoves may constitute up to 19,000 adult deaths annually in the United States, and that the total number of current pediatric asthma cases attributable to pollution from gas and propane stoves is likely close to 200,000. This study is only the latest in a series of recent and historic peer-reviewed scientific data dating back to the 1970s showing that gas stoves emit potentially dangerous levels of asthma-linked nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and known carcinogens such as benzene and formaldehyde. 

In 2024, U.S. PIRG Education Fund tested two GE Appliance models and found NO2 pollution levels exceeded the numerical values the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set as health-protective standards for outdoor air. NO2 levels also exceeded indoor air health guidelines set by Health Canada and the World Health Organization. Nitrogen dioxide is associated with a variety of respiratory health harms, such as asthma, and poses a particular risk to children.

Last year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) opened a Request For Information into the hazards of gas stove pollution. Hundreds of health professionals and organizations gave feedback expressing concern about gas stove pollution. The CPSC has taken no additional actions to date, leaving consumers without information on the risks or how they may protect their health when cooking with gas.

Earlier this year, U.S. PIRG Education Fund released its second national secret shopper survey. Researchers found that the majority of associates at major appliance retailers failed to inform — and, at times, misinformed — customers when secret shoppers asked about the health risks of cooking with gas. 

The California state Assembly passed legislation requiring warning labels on gas stoves last week and now awaits vote by the state Senate. Lawmakers have introduced similar legislation in other states. 

“There is a substantial body of scientific evidence that gas stoves routinely expose unwitting families to potentially dangerous levels of indoor air pollution,” said Scarr. “We all deserve to be made aware of the risks associated with products so we can make informed purchasing decisions and take steps to protect our health.”