Burning Issues

To Guide Exploration

Table 1: Wood Smoke Emissions (as pdf) lists some of the known wood smoke chemicals, with a key for the physical state they are in. The major first portion of the list is from one published study (Larson, 1993), the weight of each of these pollutants per kilogram of wood burned is given. Other species found in other studies are listed as "Additional Wood Smoke Emissions" at the end of Table 1, and are included here for the big picture. Scientists know that there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of compounds, and the compounds are rapidly mixing and changing in the smoke itself. A new paper "Chemical Characterization of Fine Particle Emissions from Fireplace Combustion of Wood Grown in the Northeastern United States" (Fine, 2001) lists several hundred more chemicals. We are not including them in our list but provide the reference for those interested in further research. There is a list of references following Wood Smoke Tables 1 to 4. There is also a sample equation to show how you can take information from Table 1 to find out more about the quantities of each pollutant produced.

Tables 2-5, bring information to help look at smoke pollution in novel ways. We are going to encounter disease processes that are already known about tobacco and diesel emissions. These tables are meant to start discussion and spark curiosity.

Table 2: Wood Smoke Comparisons With Other Toxic Sources, (as pdf) tells us how smokes are similar and different. It tells us that we already know many of the health effects of wood smoke even if we don't recognize it as such.

Table 3: Wood Smoke Pollutant Health Effects (as pdf)looks at current known health effects of each known toxic pollutant in wood smoke. Keep in mind that "the dose is the poison". What may be unnoticed by an adult in the short term may be a dose that is very damaging to a new or unborn baby. What is unnoticed in one individual may damage many other people.

Burning Issues
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