'My cold dead hands': GOP vows 'stove war' legislation over fear of feds 'coming after kitchen appliances'
It seemed to start Monday morning at 7:00 AM with an article at Bloomberg News: “US Safety Agency to Consider Ban on Gas Stoves Amid Health Fears.”
The hyperbolic headline did not hold up well, especially after its author two days later posted a “breaking” tweet: “The chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission says the agency has no plans to ban gas stoves after commissioner Richard Trumka’s remarks ignited a political firestorm.”
But the damage had been done the moment the article hit social media, and Republicans grabbed onto it as an example of Biden administration and liberal extremism, despite the facts in the article showing that “more than 12% of current childhood asthma cases in the US can be attributed to gas stove use.”
In reality, this is not news. Studies going back decades have shown gas stoves can be harmful to your health, and your children’s health, especially when there’s inadequate ventilation.
“There is about 50 years of health studies showing that gas stoves are bad for our health, and the strongest evidence is on children and children’s asthma,” the co-author of the study cited by Bloomberg says.
Just one week ago Yahoo News reported similar findings: “Gas stoves have given 650,000 U.S. children asthma, study finds.”
Instead of exploding in anger as Republicans are doing, Democrats quietly took action based on the report.
“Last month, eight senators and 12 members of the House of Representatives, all Democrats, signed a letter to the Consumer Product Safety Commission to take action to protect consumers from gas stove pollution,” that Yahoo News report noted. “The letter did not call for banning gas stoves, but instead asking for regulation to require ventilation and performance standards to limit leakage. CPSC Commissioner Richard Trumka Jr. said in a subsequent webinar that a ban on gas stoves would be a ‘real possibility.'”
That 650,000 children have asthma as a result of gas stoves had no discernible impact on conservatives or GOP lawmakers, who went on the warpath, just as they have with masks and vaccines to battle COVID-19, just as they have with countless other culture war conspiracies.
Dr. Ronny Jackson, the disgraced former White House Physician to the President who is now a Republican U.S. Congressman from Texas, was among the first to falsely claim Democrats are coming for your gas stoves.
“I’ll NEVER give up my gas stove. If the maniacs in the White House come for my stove, they can pry it from my cold dead hands. COME AND TAKE IT!!” he tweeted on Tuesday.
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) responded to his outburst, tweeting, “Did you know that ongoing exposure to NO2 from gas stoves is linked to reduced cognitive performance.”
Jackson upped his anti-Biden assault.
“If that’s the case,” he tweeted, “the FIRST place they should ban gas stoves is at the White House! Biden can’t afford to lose ANY more of his cognitive abilities – he needs all the help he can get!!”
Many other Republicans have jumped on the pro-pollution bandwagon.
“Joe Biden is going after your gas stoves,” House Republican Caucus Chair Elise Stefanik of New York tweeted, which is provably false. “He is out-of-touch with hardworking Americans.”
U.S. Rep. Mike Garcia (R-CA) weighed in, linking to an editorial from the right wing National Review.
“Imagine a world where all tortillas are heated in the microwave. We must take a stand against this insanity,” Congressman Garcia tweeted.
He vowed to use his powers as a lawmaker to protect gas stoves, adding, “I will be joining my colleagues this week to introduce legislation that stops this Stove War from happening.” Congressman Garcia’s spokesperson did not respond to an email requesting comment.
It’s important to note that the issue with gas stoves did not show up overnight. Just googling “gas stoves” turns up hundreds of articles, including one from 2014 from the federal government’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It offers nearly the same concerns as articles over the past week.
“Natural gas cooking appliances, which are used by a third of U.S. households, can contribute to poor indoor air quality, especially when used without an exhaust hood. Gas stoves emit nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and formaldehyde (HCHO), each of which can exacerbate various respiratory and other health ailments,” it reads.
In fact, environmental, health, and consumer protections attorney and law professor Jack Lienke, the Regulatory Policy Director for NYU’s Institute for Policy Integrity, points to a 1986 report that warned of health hazards from gas stoves.
\u201cYou: If gas stove emissions are so dangerous, why has the CPSC never worried about them before? \n\nThis 1986 report:\u201d— Jack Lienke (@Jack Lienke) 1673472690
GOP lawmakers nevertheless continued their fear-mongering.
U.S. Rep. Diana Harshbarger, Republican of Tennessee, a pharmacist and businesswoman, appeared unaware of the existence of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which unlike most actually reports directly to Congress and to the President.
“The federal government should never be powerful enough to come after your kitchen appliances,” Congresswoman Harshberger said.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, created by Congress 50 years ago in a law signed by then-President Richard Nixon, a Republican, literally comes after your kitchen appliances, and many other products, when they are deemed unsafe or harmful.
One lawmaker who is aware of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who declared his opposition to banning gas stoves – which, again, is not happening.
“This is a recipe for disaster,” Sen. Manchin wrote. “The federal government has no business telling American families how to cook their dinner. I can tell you the last thing that would ever leave my house is the gas stove that we cook on.”
“If this is the greatest concern that the Consumer Product Safety Commission has for American consumers, I think we need to reevaluate the commission,” he threatened.
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Wednesday night mocked conservatives’ lies about gas stoves.
\u201c.@chrislhayes: No, the woke mob is not coming for your gas stove.\u201d— All In with Chris Hayes (@All In with Chris Hayes) 1673488201
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