- Lawmakers appeared to be very passionate about their gas stoves after talks of a ban were floated this week.
- "COME AND TAKE IT!!" Rep. Ronny Jackson wrote, saying he'd "NEVER give up" his gas stove.
- Critics of gas stoves point to research that shows they could pose a health hazard.
As the first full week of the 118th Congress kicked off and the new GOP House majority started passing legislation, lawmakers online were wrapped up in a heated debate — not over immigration or inflation, but over… stoves.
The gas vs. electric stove debate seemed to rile up lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, but especially Republicans, who appeared extremely protective of their gas-fueled appliances.
"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!!" Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas wrote on Twitter Tuesday.
It was the kind of exclamation that would feel entirely normal if only "gas stove" was replaced with another object of the culture wars.
But after Richard Trumka Jr., a commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, told Bloomberg on Monday that a gas stove ban was being considered, the gas stovetop was getting the same sort of protective treatment that is usually reserved for things like firearms or meat consumption.
"This is a recipe for disaster. The federal government has no business telling American families how to cook their dinner," Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, said in a tweet. "I can tell you the last thing that would ever leave my house is the gas stove that we cook on."
The CPSC followed up on Wednesday, with Alex Hoehn-Saric, the chair of the commission, saying that an all-out ban was not actually on the table, but that the agency was looking for ways to reduce health risks associated with gas burners.
Proponents of the gas stove argue it is a superior cooking appliance compared to its electric counterparts, offering more temperature control and different cooking options. Critics of gas stoves say that, actually, some electric burners allow for more precise cooking temperatures and that they can be easier to clean.
Aside from cooking, studies have suggested that gas stoves pose a hazard to human health. Burning gas releases chemicals that can be toxic to the human respiratory system, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and formaldehyde. A peer-reviewed study published in December linked 12.7% of childhood asthma cases in the US to air pollutants released by gas stoves. Some researchers have also found gas stoves have a greater impact on climate change by releasing more greenhouse gas emissions.
In response to Texas representative Jackson's "COME AND TAKE IT" tweet, Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez waded into the uproar, pointing out the potential health impacts of using gas burners.
"Did you know that ongoing exposure to NO2 from gas stoves is linked to reduced cognitive performance," she wrote.
Perhaps the biggest sign the issue had veered into culture war territory was that it was shared on the popular right-wing Twitter account Libs of TikTok, run by Chaya Raichik. The account posted photos of several prominent Democrats, including Vice President Kamala Harris, first lady Jill Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Ocasio-Cortez, appearing to cook on gas burners.
"Gas stoves for me but not for thee," the tweet said alongside the photos.
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas responded to the tweet with fire emojis.