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The information below can be found in a one page handout: Bay Area Wood Smoke Plumes and Particle PAHpdf

Bay Area Study of Wood Smoke Plumes and Particulate PAH Levels Compared to Cigarette PAH Levels


These findings are from a study of fine particulate polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PPAHs) measured at 7 homes in the San Francisco Bay Area by Stanford University researcher Wayne R. Ott . The research was sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the measurements were made with state-of-the art continuous air monitoring instruments that use ultraviolet light to irradiate the particles, which then are measured by their electric charge. This measurement principle is called photoionization.

Portions of the study describing the state-of-the-art measurement method are discussed in a published paper by W. R. Ott and H. C. Siegmann, “Using Multiple Continuous Fine Particle Monitors to Characterize Tobacco, Incense, Candle, Cooking, Wood Burning, and Vehicular Sources in Indoor, Outdoor, and In-Transit Settings,” Atmospheric Environment, Vol. 40, 2006, pp. 821-843.


For a larger version in a popup window. Christmas Eve. (pop up) or (High Quality PDF)


For a larger version in a popup window. Christmas Day popup (pop up) or (High Quality PDF)

The really interesting point to be made from these two graphs is that the smoke was just as bad in 2006 as it was in in 1994! It is about time that we had some progress.

The above charts show data for the outdoor concentrations of PPAH pollutants. The indoor reading for this house was approximately 50% of the outdoor values. For comparison, consider the chart showing the pollutants from five cigarettes smoked inside the same house on a day with no wood burning. All charts are drawn to the same scale. Since about half the outdoor PPAHs infiltrate indoors, residential wood smoke on Christmas day caused indoor concentrations equivalent to more than 5 cigarettes smoked indoors.

5 cigarettes

For a larger version in a popup window. Five Cigarettes popup (pop up) or (High Quality PDF)

 © 2007 Clean Air Revival   Home page at  http://BurningIssues.org
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