By Bea Dixon, PhD, Democratic Political Activist, January 25, 2023.
While the issue of gas stoves may not be anywhere near the most important one facing America, how the Republicans vs. Democrats approached the issue is instructive about the current state of our politics.
Here are examples of how various Republicans approached the matter:
- In a tweet on January 10, Congressman Ronny Jackson, District 13 in TX wrote: “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!!”
- On January 11 Republican Representatives Bill Huizenga and Alex Mooney introduced a bill (HR 263), the Stop Trying to Obsessively Vilify Energy (STOVE) Act, to “prohibit any rule and guidance that bans gas stoves in the United States.”
- On January 11 Senator Ted Cruz retweeted a post with photos of VP Kamala Harris, First Lady Jill Biden, Senator Warren and Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez all using gas stoves. He writes: “Gas stoves for me but not for thee.”
Such Republican statements and actions promote an environment of fear-mongering about the government intruding on the freedom of Americans, in this case, to cook the way they want.
Contrast this with the nature and tone of statements and actions from Democrats and government agencies:
On December 21, 20 Democratic members of Congress (Representatives and Senators) sent a letter to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), whose role it is to protect us from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death. This agency had expressed concern based on scientific research that gas stoves in more than 40 million homes result in indoor air pollution that can worsen childhood asthma and cause neurologic side effects.
The letter urged the CPSC to require that gas stoves be sold with a range hood that meets performance standards and that address gas leakage issues by, for example, requiring automatic shut-off valves.
The Chair of the CPSC stated on Jan 11 that CPSC “is actively engaged in strengthening voluntary safety standards for gas stoves”. “To be clear”, he added, “I am not looking to ban gas stoves and the CPSC has no proceeding to do so.”
A White House spokesman told CNN that “The President does not support banning gas stoves, and CPSC, which is independent, is not banning gas stoves.” “But, for those Americans who choose to switch from gas to electric, the Democratic-led Inflation Reduction Act offers a $840 rebate.”
Who among the leaders and agencies cited above project calm composure, express concern about our welfare and that of our children, and offer concrete solutions based on scientific research?
Who among the leaders and agencies cited above generate misinformation, fear mongering, and wasteful legislative actions all designed to promote partisan self-interest consistent with an anti-government narrative?
Words and actions make a difference. Those of Republicans are designed to look good to their base but do great damage to the very fabric of our nation that values integrity and community welfare.
Ignoring Republican bad faith politics and not correcting the public record even in such seemingly “minor” issues like gas stoves will allow their false and destructive narratives to proceed and cause further short and long-term damage both to the work of government and to public health.
This is a great opportunity to raise public awareness not only about the risks of gas stoves and practical approaches to lower the risk but also about the risks of Republican politics.
Research articles about the health risks of gas stove emissions:
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/20/1/75
Environmental Science and Technology https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.est.1c04707
American Journal of Public Health https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/full/10.2105/AJPH.2018.304902
FactCheck about the gas stove controversy: https://www.factcheck.org/2023/01/hot-air-over-gas-stoves/
Letter from Democratic Congress to CPSC: https://perma.cc/2BDW-9NB8
Image Credits: Scientific American