San Francisco Makes Gas Appliances Into Boogeymen

( – Gas-fired water heaters and furnaces became the environmental left’s latest boogeyman earlier this year, and unsurprisingly, uber-progressive San Francisco wants to stamp out the reliable and affordable machines.

On March 15th, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District approved new regulations that would attempt to ban natural gas furnaces and water heaters in the region it governs. The claim is that nitrogen oxide emissions are unacceptably high, so gas appliances must be outlawed.

California is well-known around the U.S. for its precarious and failing electrical grid. It is unclear how regulators believe adding even more electrical appliances will be achieved with such creaking infrastructure.

Dr. Philip Fine, executive director of the regulatory body, claimed that the nearly 2 million gas water heaters and furnaces “significantly impact our air quality” in the Bay area and result in “dozens of early deaths.” It is unknown how any agency could determine that a gas water heater caused a specific “early death.”

He called his new regulations “ground-breaking” and used the euphemism “phase out” to refer to the Air District’s plans to ban “the most-polluting appliances in homes and businesses.”

Despite dramatic language from environmental activists, there is no evidence or any scientific consensus that gas-powered home appliances cause chronic health problems or early deaths. In early 2023, one study from Australia claimed that 12 percent of all childhood asthma cases were caused by home gas appliances.

The U.S. media and leftist politicians seized the story immediately, using it to make it appear that “the science is settled” and all gas appliances must go. But the study itself was a “meta-analysis.” This means it did not directly study the stoves or health outcomes. Instead, it collected previous studies on similar topics and then came to a conclusion that is disputed by other researchers.

Interestingly, the San Francisco proposal does not address gas cookstoves, which enjoyed a few weeks’ worth of media infamy earlier this year as alleged household killers.

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