Congress: Protect the public from gas stove pollution

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Dear Members of Congress:

We write to request congressional action to address the health risks and dangers of gas stoves used in the home. As organizations, individual doctors and nurses, public health professionals, and consumer protection advocates dedicated to promoting public health, we are concerned about the negative health impacts resulting from the routine use of gas stoves in more than a third of homes across America.  

More than thirty years ago, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) asked the EPA if it should be concerned about the impact of an invisible toxic gas— nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emitted from gas stoves. The EPA responded that the pollutant could have harmful health effects, and CPSC should investigate the concentrations of NO2 occurring in America’s kitchens. Since that time, the EPA has continued to study the impacts of NO2. Most recently, in 2016 the EPA stated that short-term exposure to NO2 has a causal relationship with asthma attacks, particularly in children, and likely leads to the development of asthma. Yet neither agency has acted to regulate gas stove pollution, and the appliance remains common in more than 40 million homes throughout America. The US’s inaction on developing health-protective standards for NO2 based on the latest evidence is in contrast to other countries, such as Canada, and the World Health Organization (WHO). Canada recently revised down its indoor NO2 guideline. Additionally, the WHO recently revised NO2 guidelines down by a staggering factor of four. The WHO guidelines are applicable to indoor and outdoor NO2 and find that health impacts can occur at very low levels of exposure.     

Gas stove pollution does not affect everyone equally. Populations most at risk include children, people with underlying health conditions, pregnant women, and older adults. In fact, children living in a home with a gas stove have a 42% increased risk of asthma and a 24% increased risk of being diagnosed with asthma by a doctor. Gas stoves also pose a health equity issue because people of color and lower-income households are disproportionately burdened by air pollutant exposure inside their homes, influenced by smaller unit size, more residents per home, inadequate ventilation, and improper use of a stove or oven for supplemental heat. These factors—compounded by disparities in outdoor air pollution and overall asthma burden—put our most vulnerable community members at high risk of negative health outcomes related to gas stove pollution.

In addition to the health risks, the extraction and combustion of methane gas used to power gas stoves contributes to the climate crisis, which in turn endangers public health even further. The changing climate will result in increases in average temperature, changes in precipitation patterns leading to flooding events and drought, and more frequent and intense hurricanes, wildfires, and poor air quality days. We can already see evidence of these changes today, as well as the resulting increased incidence of vector-borne disease and food- and water-related illness, impacts to mental health status, and increased risk of injury, disease, and death from these extremes.

The evidence is clear and mounting: gas stoves are hazardous to health and bad for our climate. As advocates and experts in the health field, we are calling for congressional action to bring to light the extent of the problem and to explore regulatory actions necessary to protect the public. 

Sincerely,

Organizations 

Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments

Allergy & Asthma Network

Arizona Climate Action Coalition

Arizona Interfaith Power & Light

Arizona PIRG

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

AZ Public Health Association

Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community

Building Decarbonization Coalition

CALPIRG

Climate Code Blue

Climate Psychiatry Alliance

Consumer Federation of America

COPIRG

Elders Climate Action

Elevate

Florida Clinicians for Climate Action

Forward Dining Solutions LLC

George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication

GreenHome Institute

Green & Healthy Homes Initiative 

Illinois PIRG

National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners

New Buildings Institute

MarylandPIRG

MASSPIRG

MI Air MI Health

Mi Familia Vota

Michigan Clinicians for Climate Action

Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition

Mothers Out Front

NCPIRG

Nevada Conservation League

OSPIRG

PennPIRG

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Physicians for Social Responsibility Arizona

Physicians for Social Responsibility New York

Physicians for Social Responsibility Oregon

Physicians for Social Responsibility Pennsylvania

Physicians for Social Responsibility San Francisco Bay

Physicians for Social Responsibility Texas

Physicians for Social Responsibility Washington

Public Citizen

Respiratory Health Association

Rewiring America

RMI

Save Porter Ranch

Sierra Club

U.S. PIRG

WashPIRG

WE ACT for Environmental Justice

Wisconsin Health Professionals for Climate Action

Individuals

Catherine Toms

Medical Doctor, Florida Clinicians for Climate Action Steering Committee Member

Judith Amanda Millstein

Medical Doctor

Carol Lindsey

Nurse Practitioner

Zachary Williams

Health Educator, Physicians for Social Responsibility

Kathleen Nolan

Medical Doctor, MSL, Physician and Bioethicist

Eve Shapiro

Medical Doctor, MPH

Linda Peng

Medical Doctor, Internal Medicine Physician

Eric Sullivan

Medical Doctor

Joseph Blanda

Medical Doctor

Kim D. Bullock

Clinical Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine

Debra Safer

Associate Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine

Anna Brandes

Medical Student, University of Utah School of Medicine

Meg Whitman

Medical Doctor

Alan S. Peterson

Medical Doctor

Andrea Kline-Tilford

President, National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners

Mark Vossler

Medical Doctor

Randa Bazzi

Veterinarian

Tomas Smith

Climate and Health Ambassador, Physicians for Social Responsibility

Cheron McNabb

President, National Carbon Monoxide Awareness Association

Tony Parnak

350Petaluma.org

Quinn Beaver

Policy Analyst, Elevate

Teena Halbig

United Nations Association of the USA Kentucky Division

Rachel Dortin

Content Strategist, Slipstream

Apostle Dr. Junius Pressey

Bread From Heaven Ministries Intl

Drew Johnstone

Sr. Sustainability Analyst, City of Santa Monica

Cynthia Mahoney

Medical Doctor, Climate Health Now

Jeffrey Mann

Medical Doctor, Climate Health Now

Alma Hernandez

Intern, San Francisco Bay Physicians for Social Responsibility

Knox J. Kelly

Medical Doctor

Karen Peterson

Community Climate Educator, ClimateTuscon

Alyssa Tracy

Climate Change and Health Advocacy Ambassador, Physicians for Social Responsibility

Brenda Nuyen

Medical Doctor

Lisa Patel

Medical Doctor, Stanford School of Medicine

Zachary Meyer

Local Climate Action Leader, Menlo Spark

Leane Eberhart

Architect

Gary Latshaw

Staff Scientist, Secure the Future 2100, Fossil Free Silicon Valley

Michelle Hudson

Co-Leader, the San Mateo Climate Action Team

Linda Peng

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Drew Johnstone

Senior Sustainability Analyst

Amanda Peppercorn

Physician Researcher, GSK

Erica Mitrano

Jennifer Valentine

Alex Stavis

Pat Brooks

Dennis Kreiner

Paula Causey West

Leo Anthony Kucewicz

David Guran

Laura Z Chinofsky

B Soltis

Debra Little

Maryanne Perlmutter

Jennifer Green

Kathy Battat

Daniel Tahara

Gladwyn d’Souza

Jeffrey Perrone

Amanda Bancroft

Leana Rosetti

Hazel Chandler

Gabrielle Lawrence, Ph.D

               

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Authors

Matt Casale

Director, Environment Campaigns, PIRG

Matt oversees PIRG's toxics, transportation and zero waste campaigns and leads PIRG’s climate program to promote a cleaner, healthier future for all Americans. Matt lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with his wife, two daughters and chihuahua.

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