May the Best Stove Win

  

Category:  Health, Science & Technology

Via:  hallux  •  2 weeks ago  •  24 comments

By:   Jacob Stern - The Atlantic

May the Best Stove Win
Joe Biden isn’t banning gas stoves. They might be doomed anyway.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Somehow, in a few short days, gas stoves have gone from a thing that some people cook with to, depending on your politics, either a child-poisoning death machine or a treasured piece of national patrimony. Suddenly, everyone has an opinion. Gas stoves! Who could have predicted it?

The roots of the present controversy can be traced back to late December, when scientists published a   paper   arguing that gas stoves are to blame for nearly 13 percent of childhood-asthma cases in the United States. This finding was striking but not really new: The scientific literature establishing the dangers of gas stoves—and the connection to childhood asthma in particular—goes back decades. Then, on Monday, the fracas got well and truly under way when Richard Trumka Jr., a member of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, said in an interview with   Bloomberg News   that the commission would consider a full prohibition on gas stoves. “This is a hidden hazard,” he said. “Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”

Just like that, gas stoves became the newest front in America’s ever-expanding culture wars. Politicians proceeded to completely lose their minds. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis   tweeted   a cartoon of two autographed—yes autographed—gas stoves. Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio   declared   simply, “God. Guns. Gas stoves.” Naturally, Tucker Carlson got involved. “I would counsel mass disobedience in the face of tyranny in this case,” he   told   a guest on his Fox News show.

No matter that Democrats are   more likely   to have gas stoves than Republicans, and, in fact, that the only states in which a majority of households use gas stoves—California, Nevada, Illinois, New York, New Jersey—are   states that went blue in 2020 . Why let a few pesky facts spoil a perfectly good opportunity to own the libs? The Biden administration, for its part, clarified yesterday that it has no intention of banning gas stoves. In the long run, though, this may prove to have been more a stay of execution than a pardon.

Read: The gas-stove debate exemplifies the silliest tendencies of American politics

Beyond the knee-jerk partisanship, the science of gas stoves is not entirely straightforward. Emily Oster, an economist at Brown University, suggested in her  newsletter  that the underlying data establishing the connection between gas-stove use and childhood asthma may not be as clear-cut as the new study makes it out to be. And because those data are merely correlational, we can’t draw any straightforward causal conclusions. This doesn’t mean gas stoves are safe, Oster told me, but it does complicate the picture. Switching from gas to electric right this minute probably isn’t necessary, she said, but she would make the change if she happened to be redesigning her kitchen.

Whatever the shortcomings of the available data, it’s clear that gas stoves are worse for the climate and fill our homes with pollutants we’re better off not inhaling. Brady Seals, a manager at the Rocky Mountain Institute and a lead author of the new paper, told me that even assuming the maximum amount of uncertainty, her work still suggests that more than 6 percent of childhood-asthma cases in the U.S. are associated with gas stoves.

Regardless of the exact science, gas stoves might be in trouble anyway. Statistically, they’re not all that deeply entrenched to begin with: Only about 40 percent of American households have one. Plus, induction stoves—a hyperefficient option that generates heat using electromagnetism—are on the rise. “We’re not asking people to go back to janky coils,” says Leah Stokes, a political scientist at UC Santa Barbara who has provided testimony on the subject of gas stoves before the U.S. Senate, and who is currently in the process of installing an induction stove in her home.

Rachelle Boucher, a chef who has worked in restaurants, in appliance showrooms, and as a private cook for such celebrity clients as George Lucas and Metallica, swears by induction. She started using it about 15 years ago and has since become a  full-time evangelist . (In the past, Boucher did promotions for electric-stove companies, though she doesn’t anymore.) Induction, she told me, tops gas in just about every way. For one thing, “the speed is remarkable.” An induction stove top can boil a pot of water in just two minutes—twice as fast as a gas burner. For another, it allows for far greater precision: When you adjust the heat, the change is nearly instantaneous. “Once you use that speed,” Boucher said, “it’s weird to go back and have everything be so much harder to control.” Induction stoves also emit virtually no excess heat, reducing air-conditioning costs and making it harder to burn yourself. And they’re easier to clean.

Induction stoves do have minor drawbacks. Because they are flat and use electromagnetism, they aren’t compatible with all cookware, meaning that if you make the switch, you may also have to buy yourself a new wok or kettle. Flambéing and charring will also take a little longer, Boucher told me, but few home cooks are deploying those techniques on a regular basis. In recent years, induction has received the endorsement of some of the world’s top chefs, who have tended to be ardent gas-stove users. Eric Ripert, whose restaurant Le Bernardin has three Michelin stars, switched his home kitchens from gas to induction. “After two days, I was in love,” he  told   The New York Times  last year. At his San Francisco restaurant, Claude Le Tohic, a James Beard Award–winning chef, has made the switch to induction. The celebrity chef and food writer Alison Roman is also a convert: “I have an induction stove by choice AMA,” she  tweeted  yesterday.

If it’s good enough for them, it’s probably good enough for us. At the moment, induction stoves are more expensive than the alternatives, although their efficiency and the fact that they don’t heat up the kitchen help offset the disparity. So, too, do the rebates included in last year’s Inflation Reduction Act, which should kick in  later this year  and can amount to as much as $840. The price has been  falling  in recent years, and as it continues to come down, Stokes told me, she expects induction to overtake gas. A 2022  Consumer Reports   survey  found that although 3 percent of Americans have induction stoves, nearly 70 might consider going induction the next time they buy new appliances. “I think the same thing’s going to happen for induction stoves” as happened  with electric vehicles , Stokes told me. In the end, culture-war considerations will lose out to questions of cost and quality. The better product will win the day, plain and simple.

Still, gas stoves’ foray into the culture wars likely means that at least some Republicans will probably scorn electric stoves now in the same way they have masks over the past few years. And this whole episode does have a distinctly post-pandemic feel to it: the concern about the air we’re breathing, the discussion of what precautions we ought to take, the panic and outrage in response. The new gas-stove controversy feels as though it has been jammed into a partisan framework established—or at least refined—during the pandemic. “I don’t know if this discourse that we’re seeing now could have happened five years ago,” Brady Seals told me. Whatever happens to gas stoves, the public-health culture wars don’t seem to be going anywhere.


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Hallux
Junior Principal
1  seeder  Hallux    2 weeks ago

Everything has become a culture war and wanting to be heroes in their own minds everyone has become a culture warrior.

Disclosure: if Hydro Quebec goes out, which it did in the winter ice storm of 1998, I have Gazmet; if Gazmet goes out I have Hydro Quebec; if they both go out, I'm fucked. No culture soup for me!

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1  devangelical  replied to  Hallux @1    2 weeks ago

you can always fire up the family truckster, pop the hood, remove the plastic engine cover, and heat your soup on the intake manifold...

 
 
 
Hallux
Junior Principal
1.1.1  seeder  Hallux  replied to  devangelical @1.1    2 weeks ago

Family truck? Alas the 'fam' is down to a bicycle and one roller skate.

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
1.1.2  sandy-2021492  replied to  devangelical @1.1    2 weeks ago

A dental colleague shared his setup for keeping his office open on a day the power was out.  He hooked a bunch of stuff up to his electric truck and ran some of his office off of its battery.  He couldn't keep everything going, but was able to see several patients.  Pretty resourceful.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1.3  devangelical  replied to  sandy-2021492 @1.1.2    2 weeks ago

... as long as he didn't get the wise idea to use any cordless drills that day...

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Guide
2  Tacos!    2 weeks ago
No matter that Democrats are   more likely   to have gas stoves than Republicans

What??? Why TF is that so important? This talk of stoves and gas and catastrophe were not presented as part of some Democratic political agenda. We have a study and a bureaucrat who talks too much. It’s not the fault of conservatives that they were the only ones to give a shit about the absurd comment from said bureaucrat and publicly respond.

Maybe the real analysis should focus on “why don’t Democrats care that this appointee is ready to upend domestic tranquility for half of America (40% of American homes have gas stoves) based on the thinnest of reasons?” Why do you need to be a Republican to object to the notion of government taking your stove? Not to mention destroying the related industries? 

This kind of silliness should inspire bipartisan condemnation.

Beyond the knee-jerk partisanship, the science of gas stoves is not entirely straightforward.

No . . . what’s “knee-jerk” is saying that stoves can’t be made safe and that they could therefore be banned by this government agency - especially when the science “ is not entirely straightforward.”

This doesn’t mean gas stoves are safe

Any activity that involves generating fire, heat, or energy in general has never been “safe.” From the first time people made fire there has been some risk associated with it. But as individuals and as a society, we do our best to manage that risk and accept that there will be some bad outcomes for some small number of people. That’s fucking life .

her work still suggests that more than 6 percent of childhood-asthma cases in the U.S. are associated with gas stoves.

Ok, well then maybe those people should consider getting an electric stove. No one in my house has asthma and I hate cooking when I can’t see a flame. You don’t need to ban my stove because 6% of childhood asthma cases . . . 

Wait. Stop. Look at that statistic.

That’s not “6% of people .” It’s not even “6% of asthma cases .” It’s 6% of childhood asthma cases.

According to the CDC , about 1 in 12 - or roughly 8% - of American children have asthma. So we’re talking about 6% of that 8% that might be ”associated” with gas stoves. Not caused by gas stoves. Just associated. So, maybe they have asthma and the stove makes it a little worse? Who knows?

Anyway, do a little quick math and we’re talking about less than 1/2 of 1% of children. They  might have worse asthma because of a gas stove in their home. And this bureaucrat wants to consider banning ALL gas stoves because of that ? How about households that don’t even have children? Or asthma?

Do you have to really have to be a Republican to call bullshit on something like this?

Republicans will probably scorn electric stoves

No. Fuck off. I’m not even a Republican but I know that Republicans don’t “scorn electric stoves.” What a pile of shit.

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Professor Guide
2.1  Drakkonis  replied to  Tacos! @2    2 weeks ago

My question concerning the issue for the experts would be: Which air was worse for a child? The air in the home using a gas stove or the air on the bus, car or sidewalk as that child made its way to school in average urban environments? Are they significantly different and, if so, in which direction? 

 
 
 
Harry Le Hermit
Freshman Silent
3  Harry Le Hermit    2 weeks ago

I'm confused. My house is all electric... does that make me a democrat or a republican?

There is no gas service, but if there had been, I might have signed up for it. Does that make me a RINO or a DINO?

/s

Full Disclosure... My propane gas grill has tanks from RHINO, called Blue Rhino!! Even more confusing!

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
3.1  Sparty On  replied to  Harry Le Hermit @3    2 weeks ago

That makes you a GINO.

 
 
 
Harry Le Hermit
Freshman Silent
3.1.1  Harry Le Hermit  replied to  Sparty On @3.1    2 weeks ago
That makes you a GINO.

Gaseous In Name Only. Regrettably, there are times, when that is not true either. jrSmiley_85_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Drakkonis
Professor Guide
4  Drakkonis    2 weeks ago

My furnace, fireplace insert and water heater are all gas heat. When I remodel my kitchen I will switch to a gas stove. It seems like the power goes out at my house almost every winter for anywhere from a day to more than a week. It's very nice that I can heat my home and take showers in spite of the power being out. It would be nice to be able to cook as well. 

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
4.1  Ender  replied to  Drakkonis @4    2 weeks ago

I bought a gas on demand water heater. I thought it would be the same as having a gas water tank. Nope, it plugs in and needs electricity to run...

My cousin has a gas backup generator that is powerful enough to run the air conditioning in the house. Not gasoline, natural gas.

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
4.2  Thrawn 31  replied to  Drakkonis @4    2 weeks ago
My furnace, fireplace insert and water heater are all gas heat.

As are mine, but here is the big difference. In most place those are all required by law to have an outdoor vent, so why not the gas stove? What the study said makes sense. You cannot burn something and have nothing being put into the air. Probably better to be not inhaling whatever you are burning. 

 
 
 
SteevieGee
Masters Silent
4.2.1  SteevieGee  replied to  Thrawn 31 @4.2    2 weeks ago
What the study said makes sense. You cannot burn something and have nothing being put into the air.

Exactly.  I'm a plumbing contractor and I've always thought that having an unvented gas appliance in the middle of your kitchen seems...  Pretty stupid.  I do love my gas stove though so I always run the hood fan, at least on low, anytime I use it.  The hood won't work by gravity like a furnace flue unless you turn it on because there's a damper in it.

 
 
 
Harry Le Hermit
Freshman Silent
5  Harry Le Hermit    2 weeks ago

Sitting aside the debate on gas stoves, I would think an appropriate starting point for any federal government ban, would be ventless or vent-free gas heaters. They are illegal in several states and municipalities, but nowhere near all.

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
6  Ender    2 weeks ago

I say instead of stoves, communities all get together and hunt. Bring home them well fought cow kills and cook them all on open flame in town square. Maybe a nice hog roast.

While it is being prepared, everyone hangs out and has a few beers.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Sophomore Principal
6.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Ender @6    2 weeks ago
Maybe a nice hog roast.

The Skylight Inn make great whole hog BBQ in Ayden NC as does Sam Jones in Winterville NC>

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
7  Thrawn 31    2 weeks ago

Makes sense, just never really thought about it before. I'll dump the gas stove here in a bit. Til then, run the almighty vent fan.

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
8  Sparty On    2 weeks ago

Lol ...... a new study finds that small amounts of saliva, swallowed over long periods of time, can cause cancer.

This is nothing but another AOC garbage disposal moment for our friends on the left.

 
 
 
Thrawn 31
Professor Guide
8.1  Thrawn 31  replied to  Sparty On @8    2 weeks ago

What does AOC have to do with the topic? When you burn something it gives off fumes, and they are probably not good to breathe in. Not sure what the issue is.

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Guide
8.1.1  Hal A. Lujah  replied to  Thrawn 31 @8.1    2 weeks ago

Owning the libs is always the issue.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
8.2  JohnRussell  replied to  Sparty On @8    2 weeks ago

New study shows brain damage causes MAGA sympathies. 

 
 
 
Sparty On
Professor Principal
8.2.1  Sparty On  replied to  JohnRussell @8.2    2 weeks ago

Nah but TDS is a clear and present danger to normal reasoning.    Always has been, always will be.

But if it did cause brain damage, it would explain a lot about AOC.    Since she uses a gas stove.

 
 
 
freepress
Freshman Silent
9  freepress    2 weeks ago

No fake culture controversy that they won't exploit, baggy pants, "woke M&M's", Obama phones, Electric cars, life saving vaccines, animal de-wormer as a cure all, the list is so long that it would take an entire book to highlight the insane level of lies spread that do nothing but harm the very voting base of the GOP and far right wingers who lap every lie up and spread the lies further. Anything to hope for a "gotcha" moment to "own the libs". It has gotten so bad that the GOP better get "woke" soon to how they are not only losing their base to entire new generations but they are losing their older established base by letting them die off as they cling to falsehoods over life saving measures. 

 
 

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