Are you in the market for a new stove? You may not have a choice between gas and electric soon if you’re trying to move into a new build or buying a new one. Dozens of cities across the United States have banned natural gas equipment (such as for gas stoves) in new buildings, such as Berkeley, California (the first one) and Brookline, Massachusetts (the first one on the East Coast) in a measure to decrease carbon emissions and air pollution. In fact, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission announced in mid-December it would consider regulations for the first time on gas stoves and then Bloomberg reported that the agency is going so far as to consider a ban.
Last year, the New York City Council voted to pass legislation that would ban the use of natural gas in most new construction, with exceptions for hospitals, commercial kitchens, and laundromats. This law will go into effect in 2023 for buildings under seven stories, and in 2027 for taller buildings. This means that construction companies must use electricity instead for appliances such as stoves, space heaters, and water boilers. This is especially important in New York City because buildings in the City account for around 70% of its total greenhouse gas emissions. This bill will cut approximately 2.1 million tons of carbon emissions by 2040 which is equivalent to the annual emissions of 450,000 cars!
Another concern about gas stoves is the links to cardiovascular problems and respiratory disease, especially children developing asthma. This is due to the release of nitrogen dioxide as a byproduct of burning methane (which is what gas stoves use). Too much nitrogen dioxide exposure can cause inflammation of the airways, coughing and wheezing, and an increase in asthma attacks.
With these negative effects for the climate and peoples’ health, it’s a good idea to phase gas stoves out of buildings. Only time will tell if the US CPSC will ban gas stoves, as they are facing serious pushback from the gas industry.
Written by Sarah Woodams ’24(T5)