When gas stoves ignite the political debate in the United States

How did gas stoves become a rallying cry for Republicans against Democrats, in the same way as the management of Covid or ultra-sensitive social issues? The fire started after remarks by the head of a government agency which caused one of these controversies punctuating political life in the United States.

In a recent interview with the Bloomberg agency, Richard Trumka, a member of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), said that because of the pollution emitted by this type of cooker, their ban was not in order. discard. “It’s a hidden danger,” he said, referring to the potential respiratory problems they can cause. “All options are on the table. Products that cannot be made safe may be banned.”

It was enough to start the rumor of an imminent ban on gas stoves and to raise cries of outrage at officials and right-wing Internet users.

Breakfast and dinner

Rising against a possible attempt to trample on their freedoms, some posed as heralds of well-cooked food – “electric cookers suck”, according to conservative commentator Matt Walsh – others of the most disadvantaged in the face of government officials seen as privileged, induction hobs being expensive in the United States.

“The Democrats are going to go after your kitchen appliances,” said Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton. “Their will to control every aspect of your life has no limits, including how you cook your breakfast,” he tweeted. South Carolina elected official Jeff Duncan told him that he saw it as a new “abuse of power” by the Biden administration. “Washington bureaucrats shouldn’t have a say in how Americans cook their dinner,” he tweeted.

And like other netizens, Florida lawmaker Matt Gaetz proudly posted a video of a gas stove burner – around 35% of kitchens in the United States run on gas. “You will have to come and snatch it out of my hands!”, He wrote, taking up a formula notably popularized by actor Charlton Heston, long president of the powerful arms lobby NRA, who had hammered it in 2000 by brandishing a rifle to warn Democrats against any attempt to tackle guns. Along the same lines, Ohio lawmaker Jim Jordan posted this motto-sounding tweet: “God. Guns. Gas stoves.”

“Ridiculous Trends”

Faced with the overheating – sincere or perhaps unaffected – of the spirits, the White House and the boss of the Consumer Product Safety Commission had to speak out.

“The president (Joe Biden) does not support a ban on gas stoves,” his spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said. And the commission, “which is independent, does not ban gas stoves”. “I want to set the record straight. Contrary to recent press reports, I am not seeking to ban gas stoves”, wrote Alex Hoehn-Saric, the head of the CPSC, while recalling that according to studies, “emissions from gas stoves can be dangerous”.

Recent research (which is not unanimous) indeed accuses gas cooking of being responsible for approximately 12% of childhood asthma cases in the United States and Europe. Without that stopping the flow of outraged reactions on the right.

The heated debate on the stoves is the perfect “example of the most ridiculous trends in American politics”, estimated bluntly Thursday a column published in the magazine The Atlantic. “A trifle can turn into a huge controversy, for no good reason.”

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