Thousands of Americans call for safeguards from gas stove health risks, as public health organizations mark World Asthma Day

Media Contacts
Matt Casale

Former Director, Environment Campaigns, U.S. PIRG Education Fund

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Thousands of Americans and a diverse range of organizations are calling for the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to take concrete steps to protect the public from gas stove pollution, as health bodies across the globe mark World Asthma Day. 

More than 3,000 individuals, 205 health professionals, and 139 organizations have submitted comments expressing concern over gas stove pollution in response to the CPSC’s request for information (RFI) about chronic hazards associated with gas ranges. A recent peer-reviewed study found that nearly 13% of childhood asthma in the U.S. can be attributed to gas stove pollution. 

“The bottom line is that consumers deserve to know about health risks associated with products,” said Matt Casale, director of environment campaigns, U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund. “The CPSC investigation into gas stove pollution is a step in the right direction, and what we need is action – because action on this issue is 40 years overdue.”

Respondents to the RFI include public health organizations, restaurants and chefs, scientists, parents and caregivers, public housing advocates and environmental justice interests. Data shows that gas-burning stoves fill homes with nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and particulate matter. A 2013 meta-analysis found children living in a home with a gas stove are 42% more likely to develop asthma symptoms, and 24% more likely to develop asthma than those in homes without gas stoves.

“Asthma is a serious, chronic health condition that can be deadly,” noted Barbara Gottlieb, director of the environment and health program, Physicians for Social Responsibility. “Many people are now learning for the first time that the air we breathe indoors can be unhealthy due to gas stove pollution. We’re now counting on the CPSC to provide information and solutions, because the public will no longer settle for radio silence on this issue.”

The CPSC put forth its RFI nearly 40 years after the independent, federal agency originally flagged potential health dangers from gas stove pollution. Since that time, scientists have flagged more concerns. Recent research indicates gas stoves leak dozens of hazardous chemicals and carcinogens, including benzene – even when off.

Consumer advocates responding to the RFI are recommending the Commission should take the following steps:

  1. Promulgate mandatory performance standards for new gas ranges and range hoods that reduce risk by increasing ventilation and/or alerting users to unsafe concentrations of pollutants;
  2. Require warning labels on gas ranges;
  3. Create accessible public education materials about the emissions from gas ranges and effective ways to reduce or eliminate them.

“The large-scale response to CPSC’s RFI just shows that we need common sense steps without delay to protect our health from gas stove pollution,” Gottlieb added.

The CPSC’s request for information closes on May 8. Until then, the public and experts alike have the opportunity to submit comments directly to the federal agency or sign the petition organized by PIRG.