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Health debate over gas stoves is on the front burner; how is it affecting C. Oregon sales?

(Update: Adding video, comments from an appliance salesman, customer)

'We're still 50/50 in Central Oregon on sales -- gas vs. electric.'

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- When it comes to buying or decorating a home, the kitchen appliances can be a key factor. A recent national debate over one of those appliances has some Central Oregon consumers considering or changing their minds and making a switch, due to health concerns.

The appliance causing the most buzz and topic is gas stoves.

In recent weeks, gas stoves have been raising some alarms about what, if any, health risks they may pose.

Last week, Richard Trumka Jr., a member of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, said he was considering a ban on gas stoves, saying it can cause health issues that may be related to childhood asthma, is considering a ban on gas stoves to keep the stoves from emitting toxic fumes into kitchens.  But commission Chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric said no such ban is being considered. 

Johnson Brothers Appliances sales dealer Daniel Fausette, said Tuesday, "Because of the buzz, we've had a lot more people coming in asking about the alternatives, too. The research is showing us breathing in those carcinogens is bad for our health."  

He said the buzz is the main motivator for people. 

"People are wanting to know what the alternatives are," Fausette said. "We're still 50/50 in Central Oregon on sales -- gas vs. electric."

"In the last two weeks because of the buzz, we've had tons of people coming in asking about it," he added. " Induction, which is very similar to gas in the way that it performs, it's very fast to boil water, it's very rapid to cool, and it's easy to clean." 

Natural gas stoves are used in about 40% of US homes, and do emit pollutants at levels health regulators have said are unsafe and linked to health issues. Consumer Reports recently urged consumers to consider going electric. But other reports indicate that the research is not conclusive, and a clear causal link between the stoves and health impacts has not been identified.

 The Multnomah County Health Department recommends transitioning from gas stoves to electric alternatives. 

Some lawmakers have asked the CPSC to consider warning labels, range hoods and performance standards. And nearly 100 cities and counties have taken steps to stop new construction that uses gas stoves or other fossil fuels.

The climate legislation President Biden signed last year includes rebates of up to $840 for new electric ranges for people who want to replace gas stoves.

Induction ranges are more expensive than an electric coil top or radiant cooking surface.

"The biggest alternative is obviously going to be all-electric, within the all-electric category -- there's regular coil-topped ranges, smooth-topped radiant ranges and induction ranges," Fausette said.

Fausette said the air is stagnant, unless you turn on something that moves the air. It's recommended that you use the ventilation system for a full minute before you start cooking.

Roger and Sherri Raeburn were at the store Tuesday, taking in all the appliances.

"We have gas at home and really like it and enjoy it, and we have all the qualities of quick heat," Roger Raeburn said.

"As we were looking through and looking at new appliances, we were introduced to induction," he said. "Some of the cleaning aspects of keeping it clean are really, really attractive to us, as opposed to cleaning around the burners and the surfaces on gas ranges."

A commenter on Facebook said, "Looks like we're going to be forced into electric cars and electric stoves." And another said, "Get ready for some terrible food in the future."

Article Topic Follows: Environment
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Kelsey McGee

Kelsey McGee is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Kelsey here.


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