Burning Issues

Dioxin From Wood Burning.

Dioxin is a very potent carcinogen and endocrine disrupter. Scientists say it is exceeded in toxicity only by radioactive waste. Dioxin is one of the deadly dozen air pollutants. It is a repeat offender and keeps getting recycled in the environment for years. It lasts in the human body for seven years. For example go see pictures of Victor Yushcenko who was recently poisened by dioxin. His face is now ravaged.

Wood burning is the third largest source of dioxin in the United States.

In the San Francisco Bay Area residential wood burning is the second largest source, and accounts for as much dioxin as 100 factories and industrial sites, including landfills, incinerators, foundries, cement kilns, coke ovens and hazardous waste furnaces. San Francisco wood burning is estimated to produce 0.424 grams of dioxin per year and is the second largest source (Meltzer, Lawrence Livermore national Lab 2001 Report). Compare to nonspecific source fires at 0.097 grams of dioxin per year, or hazardous waste incineration at Shell and Chevron of 0.063 grams of dioxin (California Air Resources Board, 1999).

Dioxins, byproducts of combustion processes rise high into the atmosphere as smoke particles, fall to the earth in rain, lodge in the soil and water, and coat water and land plants. The plants are eaten by animals and by humans. Humans eat food such as milk and meat, which comes from animals, which eat contaminated plants and water. Dioxins are deadly and are recycled over and over again in the environment. They are reported to contaminate virtually our entire food supply.

"Burning 1 kilogram of wood produced as much as 160 micrograms of total dioxins. This result was obtained when various specimens of wood were burned in different stoves. Soot was collected and analyzed by well-designed and documented procedures. Tetrachlorinated, hexachlorinated, heptachlorinated, octachlorinated dioxins were present. The isomers of the dioxins were separated and quantitated. The highly chlorinated dioxins were the major components. In the soot from a series of experiments, their total content ranged from 10 to 167 mg/kg of fuel. The total yields of tetrachlorinated dioxins (TCDDs) ranged from 0.1 to 7.8 mg/kg of fuel."
[Science, Vol. 266 Oct. 21, 1994,T.J. Nestrick and L.L. Lamparski, Anal. Chem. 54, 2292 (1982)].

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