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Question from Cathy

Dear Deborah,

You were very helpful a few years ago when I had some questions about home insulation.

I have recently bought a new General Electric electric stove and have encountered serious toxic problems with it.

The company has been stunningly dismissive so I have been able to find out very little from them.

Is there a source of information to which you can direct me about toxic chemicals in new electric stoves.

I have already learned (the hard way) that the self-cleaning cycle that GE insists will “cure all” is a nightmare of toxic chemicals. Among other things it melts the acrylic binder in the oven insulation. Following their advice for getting rid of the original milder version of this chemical bath rendered my home unusable for three days while it was being thoroughly aired out.

Although I no longer smell melted acrylic when using the oven, I do feel strong pressure in my head when the oven is on. (Using the burners is not a problem.)

I am trying to figure out if this pressure I feel is a lesser version of the chemical toxins or if it is an electromagnetic or EMF problem. (I do not have problems with cell phones etc. I am chemically injured and should have done this research before I bought the stove but GE’s answers to my questions were not honest or accurate and I made the mistake of believing them.)

I have tried the internet to research this and have not found any useful information.

Can you refer me to information on possible chemicals in new electric stoves?

Is there a source of information on electromagnetic fields and EMFs that could enable me to decide if that is part of this problem. (My old electric stove was fine but obviously manufacturers are creating more toxic products now.)

And third, do you know of anything like Yelp where people like me can warn others of the dangers of household appliances. (Yelp only covers local people and stores who repair or sell stoves–not the stoves themselves.)

Anything you can tell me to help me make the decision of whether I can co-exist with this stove, which is better than it was, or should simply cut my losses and start over will be most helpful.

Thank you,

Charlotte Shoemaker

Debra’s Answer

Well, you’re not alone. Here are some posts on other blogs that may yield some information, but as yet there is no “smelly stove” clearinghouse information site. Maybe I should start one.

This was all I could find that was worth reading.

For years I have been warning against self-cleaning ovens. They produce carcinogenic polynuclear aromatics that are on the EPA list of priority pollutants. Some new models have a distinct odor that can take a year or more to disappear.

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