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‘God. Guns. Gas stoves.’ The culture wars range into the kitchen.

A gas-burning stove is offered for sale at a home improvement store on January 12, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)Scott Olson/Getty

War in Ukraine. Punishing inflation. Gas stoves?

Few political observers expected the cooking appliance to emerge as a hot-button political issue in 2023, but Beltway metrics are unpredictable.

After a peer-reviewed study linking gas stoves to childhood asthma renewed calls to regulate the appliances, a backlash this week from Republican lawmakers has cast the humble kitchen range into the political cauldron.

Almost overnight, the prospect that gas stoves might be banned elevated their use to something of a fundamental American right. As Jim Jordan, a Republican Congressman from Ohio, wrote succinctly on Twitter: “God. Guns. Gas stoves.”

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Not to be outdone, Dr. Ronny Jackson, a former White House physician and Republican congressman from Texas, voiced support for gas stoves by channeling Charlton Heston’s famous refusal to part with firearms during the gun control debate.

“I’ll NEVER give up my gas stove,” Jackson tweeted. “If the maniacs in the White House come for my stove, they can pry it from my cold dead hands. COME AND TAKE IT!!”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican widely seen as a leading presidential contender, weighed in with the familiar don’t-tread-on-me trope, often deployed against unwanted government regulation.

“Don’t tread on Florida, and don’t mess with gas stoves!” DeSantis tweeted.

So that’s the view from the right, where support for environmental regulation is scarce. But what was the initial fuss about?

The study was led by the sustainability-focused nonprofit RMI and based on data from nine states. Researchers found gas stoves are responsible for more than 15 percent of childhood asthma cases in Massachusetts, higher than the 12.7 percent of childhood asthma cases nationwide that are attributed to gas stoves.

The study provides “yet more evidence of why we need our regulators and our policymakers to be protecting us from these consumer products,” said Brady Seals,a manager at RMI who co-authored the study.

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On Monday, Richard Trumka Jr., a commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, told Bloombergthat a gas stove ban was a possibility.

“This is a hidden hazard,” Trumka told Bloomberg. “Any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned.”

Trumka later clarified his remarks, tweeting that “CPSC isn’t coming for anyone’s gas stoves. Regulations apply to new products.” And the White House said President Joe Biden does not support banning gas stoves.

But tensions had already boiled over.

“This is a recipe for disaster,” tweeted US Senator Joe Manchin, a conservative West Virginia Democrat, on Tuesday. “The federal government has no business telling American families how to cook their dinner. I can tell you the last thing that would ever leave my house is the gas stove that we cook on.”

Jon B. Wolfsthal, senior advisor to the nuclear weapons abolition group Global Zero, was quick to retort.

“Senator, please,” Wolfsthal tweeted. “We have banned CFC for the Ozone, taken lead out of gas, ended the use of lead paint, and ended use of asbestos, we can handle things like this. Starting a culture war over a gas stove is not the act of a serious person.”

Right-wing television host Tucker Carlson also weighed in on a recent airing of his Fox News show.

“The Consumer Product Safety Commission is deciding on whether to ban gas stoves totally, because of safety. Safety?” Carlson said with a giggle. “We’ve had these stoves for over 100 years. It’s totally fine to give fentanyl to addicts, but a gas stove is a threat to your life? Right.”

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Writer Ed Burmila, however, appeared bullish on a ban in a Twitter thread Wednesday, when he lamented the obstinacy of those opposing a blanket prohibition on gas stoves.

“Some reactions to the proposed gas stove ban are a good analogy for the fundamental problem Americans are having with doing anything to address climate change: the inability and unwillingness to reconcile ‘But I like this thing’ with the thing being harmful and needing to go,” wrote Burmila, the author of “Chaotic Neutral: How the Democrats Lost Their Soul in the Center.”

Attorney-academic Howell Ellerman responded that one obstacle to a ban is the cultural tendency to deride needed environmental policies as “virtue signaling.”

“Putting the greater good ahead of individual preferences is mocked as virtue-signaling, like driving a hybrid rather than a half-ton pickup,” Ellerman tweeted.

For California State Senator Scott Wiener, a Democrat, the debate should be focused on protecting children’s health.

“Gas stoves are toxic to people’s health,” Wiener tweeted Monday. “They cause asthma in children, cardiac problems & other disease. They need to be phased out.”

US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, voiced similar concerns in a recent tweet, linking to a news article detailing gas stoves’ potentially negative impact on cognitive functioning.

“Did you know that ongoing exposure to NO2 [Nitrogen Dioxide] from gas stoves is linked to reduced cognitive performance,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote in a response to Jackson’s tweet.

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Health concerns notwithstanding, don’t expect Mariela Roca, a former Republican congressional candidate in Maryland, to phase out her gas stove anytime soon.

“NOPE,” Roca tweeted Tuesday. “I have cooked on a gas stove my entire life. Not giving it up.”

Some also noted that the right-wing backlash was curious since gas stoves are more prevalent in blue states such as California, New York, and New Jersey.

“Almost opposite the map of the red/blue political divide,” tweeted Sam D’Amico, chief executive of Impulse Labs, an induction stove start-up.



Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.