Letters to the Editor: March 17, 2016

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Letters to the Editor: March 17, 2016

Postby Wilberforce » Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:38 pm

Letters to the Editor: March 17, 2016

Hot health issue

In the story, Fire service reviewing backyard bonfire bylaws (March 8), some councillors were unconvinced about the need to prohibit bonfires.

I note the following.

Wood smoke has more than 200 chemical compounds. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, wood smoke has more carcinogenic properties than tobacco smoke, and inhaling it is more harmful to human health, especially for young children, than secondhand tobacco smoke.

When enjoying your backyard bonfire you are not just exposing yourself and your family to health risks. Wood smoke particulate almost immediately invades the neighbourhood. Dr. Wayne Ott at Stanford University notes that a few hours of wood burning in a single home can raise fine particle concentrations in dozens of surrounding homes and result in such high concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that anyone with existing respiratory and heart concerns may be affected.

The option for neighbours is to go indoors, close all doors and windows and wait it out. My wife and I now need to do that more often than not on fine summer evenings. We have lived in Saskatoon for 30 years and never felt the need for an air-conditioner. But we are now having one installed despite our desire to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

All of this happens when people abide carefully by the existing rules. Once people are encouraged to have backyard wood fires a large percentage will burn whatever comes to hand, increasing many times the health and environmental consequences of such fires.

But, of course, we could never consider actually banning the fires, could we?

Jim Handy, Saskatoon

http://thestarphoenix.com/opinion/lette ... it-letters

Letter: Wood burning stoves should be banned

By mbarber | Posted: March 17, 2016

In recent years the spread of wood burning stoves has been literally infectious. In our street you cannot leave the house, or even open the window in the evening, without the pervasive stench of wood smoke in the air. Something must be done to ban these dangerous, inefficient, polluting, nuisances.

There is much misinformation peddled about woodburners, the primary being that they are eco-friendly. In reality the USA Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently taken steps to restrict the sale of woodburners due to health and pollution concerns. Many US states now restrict the use of stoves on cold calm days when the pollution from the smoke hangs around, ie they cannot be used for a significant portion of the winter. Wood smoke contains several toxic harmful air pollutants including: benzene, formaldhyde, acrolein, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). If you can smell wood smoke, it isn't good. The EPA website Burnwise has more information.

Another of the untruths peddled by woodburner salesmen is the claim that they can save money. For anyone thinking buying a stove, hooked by this claim, here are the facts about woodburners.

http://www.blackmorevale.co.uk/Letter-W ... story.html
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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