Last month people were outraged when a rogue commissioner on the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission began speaking openly of banning gas stoves. In response, the Biden administration and their sympathetic media sought to dispel the worries and even downplay it as right-wing fearmongering.

It reached a point of absurdity the when U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Sec. Jennifer Granholm called it all “so ridiculous” — just a few days before the DOE proposed sweeping regulations on stoves (gas and electric) that would “eliminate most current models” of gas stoves, effectively banning an estimated 95 percent of them.

But as my Daily Caller column this week points out, it’s not just Biden bureaucrats who want this foolishness. Many cities, counties, and even some states do, too. If Gov. Roy Cooper were to get his way, they would include North Carolina:

Bloomberg reported, “Nearly 100 cities and counties,” including New York City, are already moving in the direction of regulating gas stoves into oblivion.

States, too. In 2022, California’s Air Resources Board made it illegal to sell gas-fired stoves and water heaters could by 2030. That same year, New York passed a law to would use building code regulations “to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” and regulators are already talking about banning gas-fired stoves, water heaters and space heaters. Minnesota lawmakers are now seeking to replicate that law.

Meanwhile, the governor of North Carolina released a “Deep Decarbonization” report that included “Building Decarbonization,” which would require all new homes, apartments and businesses to be 100% electric (appliances, heating, water heaters) and explore retrofitting the rest.

Shoddy study

Suddenly, new research appeared that purports to link gas stoves with asthma in children. Just in time! Media dove right in without question. Washington Post: “Gas stove pollution causes 12.7 percent of childhood asthma, study finds.” U.S. News & World Report: “About 12 percent of childhood asthma cases can be linked to gas stove use, according to a recent study.” Even Yahoo News: “Gas stoves have given 650,000 US children asthma, study finds.”

That’s ‘causation’ in the same way that a guess in the game of ‘Clue’ is forensic science.

As I explained for the American Institute for Economic Research, however, this research filled the role of a study since the Covid era, which is “just provide a modicum of ‘New Study Finds’ justification for predetermined government intervention, and let state-awed media do the rest.” It doesn’t have to be a good, well-designed study. It just has to support the conclusion for expanding government control. 

I noted, “Pandemic policies showed that lack of rigor notwithstanding, few are those who will say ‘to hell with your study, this isn’t government’s business in the first place.’”

The study itself was shoddy, as I explained in detail. Among other things, the authors (who included researchers from RMI, a think tank seeking a “clean energy revolution”) excluded the most comprehensive study in the research literature on the subject: a 2013 study for phase three of the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood, which involved “512,707 primary and secondary school children from 108 centers in 47 countries.” That study found “no evidence of an association between the use of gas as a cooking fuel and either asthma symptoms or asthma diagnosis.”

What did they do instead? This:

The authors instead used combined estimates of gas stove effects on the risk of developing childhood asthma in North America (three studies) and Europe (seven studies), and then estimated the proportion of children in the US in households with gas stoves using data from the American Housing Survey. There’s no measure of the exposure level of any child to a household gas stove. But by a string of inferences and associations they churned out a statistic that “12.7 percent of current childhood asthma nationwide is attributed to gas stove use, which is similar to the childhood asthma burden attributed to secondhand smoke exposure.”

The authors then moved to “mitigation,” which would be “removing the source by replacing gas cooking with cleaner alternatives (e.g., electric)” and “reducing exposure through source ventilation (e.g., range hoods).”

As I wrote in summation:

To recap: the authors chose a handful of studies, discarded 35 times as many as they chose (including one that involved over a half a million children across four dozen countries), aggregated the gas stove risks estimated by the few they kept, used the Housing Survey to project how many kids are in homes with gas stoves, and determined that about one in eight cases of childhood asthma can be attributed to something that in is two of every five homes. That’s “causation” in the same way that a guess in the game of “Clue” is forensic science. 

Rather than the magnitude of their findings giving them pause, let alone the fact that they never measured the exposure level of any child to gas stove usage, they immediately proposed “mitigation strategies,” leading with “replacing gas cooking.”

Guilty behavior

The best hope for consumers and appliance makers is how quickly — and guiltily — Biden officials acted when people found out their plans for the stoves. For most families it would be no small matter to switch out gas stoves for electric. It’s not simply placing an electric stove in vacancy left by the gas stove and plugging it into the nearest, standard 110-volt outlet.

Like other large, electrical appliances, they need special, 220-volt outlets. Installing one of those is an expensive service call to an electrician for most people just to have a new appliance that fits some environmentalist bureaucrat’s fancy, not their home’s design.

As I put it in the Daily Caller, “if the people turn up the heat, maybe Biden’s bureaucrats will stay out of the kitchen.”