From an air pollution perspective, diesel automobiles are bad news. This quote is from a leading EPA scientist who has been studying particulates for a long time.

Because houses "breathe" there is always seepage of outside air into the house; therefore, it is not possible to isolate yourself from high exterior particulate levels. Remember, the most dangerous particles are are too small to be smelled. If you are burning inside the house the PM10 reading will go very high - exceeding the state standards by 13 times.

Most of the burning is done by upper middle class households. This explains part of the permissive attitude of governmental agencies; they do not want to offend middle class voters. Some of the smokiest neighborhoods are affluent neighborhoods that emphasize family values and a good environment for raising children.

Pacific Gas&Electric in 1992, estimated that to be economically competitive with natural gas wood would have to be available for less than $70 per cord. In Los Altos, CA a cord of dried hardwood delivered but not stacked is priced at $235. At those prices two things can be asserted: (1) RWB is a recreational lifestyle choice --what people moved to the suburbs for. (2) People are willing to burn most anything garbage, yard waste, scrap construction materials, etc. We know of a neighbor who uses discarded roofing shingles with flame retardant and insect treatment as kindling in his fireplace.

In addition to the direct costs there are the indirect costs to society: medical costs and lost work days, among others. It is estimated that in the San Francisco Bay area the yearly cost of particulate fine pollution, from health and lost wages runs to as much as two billion dollars annually. Over one billion of this expense is directly related to the smoke pollution caused by those who burn wood.

RWB is related to all of the environmental problems in this slide. The ash dioxin and chemicals released in wood burning leach into the soil and into the water supply. The cutting trees for fuel adversely affects runoff, flooding and watersheds. The release of greenhouse gasses effect global warming. We live in a very connected world sometimes called Spaceship Earth.

An elaboration of the problems depicted in the last slide.

The problems have been known for a long time. It is just that most people including governmental regulators choose to ignore them.

A partial list of contacts who have supplied valuable information to Burning Issues.





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