An ordinary household appliance — the gas stove — is now at the center of a controversy tied to health, the environment and politics.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is raising concerns about gas stoves because of harmful pollutants. One recent study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health suggests more than 12% of childhood asthma cases can be traced to their use of gas.
“The most important thing is not what somebody is saying about it on Twitter, you know. It’s ‘How are we going to protect our health and our children’s health?'” said Ben Hellerstein of Environment Massachusetts.
Not everyone is convinced.
“Is it really pinning down the exact contribution? It’s unclear,” said Dr. Margee Louisias, an allergist with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America.
She worries about asthma rates, as well as the racial and economic impact, of mandates regarding stoves.
“People are going to be making potential changes, but not everyone’s going to be able to afford to do that,” she said.
One estimate puts gas stoves in about 40% of all U.S. homes. These new concerns come as states like Massachusetts look to limit the burning of fossil fuels in new construction.
Ten Bay State communities are now part of a pilot program.
“We should be looking at how we can transition our stoves from gas stoves to clean electric technology like induction,” Hellerstein said.
There are incentives in Massachusetts to update your gas stove. The Mass Save Program offers $500 in rebates to make the switch.