New studies: health effects of PM2.5 even worse than thought

Discussion on health consequences of air particulates

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New studies: health effects of PM2.5 even worse than thought

Postby Dorre » Sat Aug 25, 2007 2:09 am

New statistical analyses show the health effects of fine particle air pollution worse than previously thought

Evidence that we have under-estimated the hazards of air pollution continues to grow. Until recently, estimates of the effects of air pollution were obtained by assuming everyone in the same city experienced the same pollution. However, pollution can vary tremendously from one part of a city to another.

New, more accurate analyses (that estimated personal exposure from the nearest pollution monitors) show the effect is greater than previously thought.

For example, a comprehensive study published in 2007 of 65,893 post-menopausal women found a 76% increase in the risk of death from cardiovascular disease (and a 24% increase in strokes, heart attacks onset of coronary or cerebrovasular disease) for every increase of 10 ?g/m3 of PM2.5 pollution .

Average pollution levels in areas where woodsmoke builds up can exceed 20 ?g/m3, twice the exposure found in the above study to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 76%.

Reference: Miller KA, Siscovick DS, Sheppard L, Shepherd K, Sullivan JH, Anderson GL, et al. Long-Term Exposure to Air Pollution and Incidence of Cardiovascular Events in Women. N Engl J Med 2007;356(5):447-458.
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Postby Limey » Sat Aug 25, 2007 8:54 am

Welcome to the board, Dorre!

It is worth noting that New England articles are downloadable at:


content.nejm.org with the usual http in front (I cannot find out how to type some of the symbols such as forward slash)

Do a search for PM2.5

Limey

PS thanks for the nesletter.[/url]
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Postby Wilberforce » Sat Aug 25, 2007 8:05 pm

Limey, here is Dorre's article link:

http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/356/5/447

another article from NEJM:

http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/356/5/511

The best method is to copy the http address from the address bar in internet explorer, and paste into the message box.
You may or may not have to type:'url' (I don't think you have to with this software.)
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Postby woodburner » Mon Aug 27, 2007 6:08 am

So fine particles are bad for us. Ok, let's ban lawnmowers, snowmobiles, all kinds of stuff actually.

From the New York State Department of Health:
There are outdoor and indoor sources of fine particles. Outside, fine particles primarily come from car, truck, bus and off-road vehicle (e.g., construction equipment, snowmobile, locomotive) exhausts, other operations that involve the burning of fuels such as wood, heating oil or coal and natural sources such as forest and grass fires. Fine particles also form from the reaction of gases or droplets in the atmosphere from sources such as power plants. These chemical reactions can occur miles from the original source of the emissions. In New York State, some of the fine particles measured in the air are carried by wind from out-of-state sources. Because fine particles can be carried long distances from their source, events such as wildfires or volcanic eruptions can raise fine particle concentrations hundreds of miles from the event.

PM2.5 is also produced by common indoor activities. Some indoor sources of fine particles are tobacco smoke, cooking (e.g., frying, sautéing, and broiling), burning candles or oil lamps, and operating fireplaces and fuel-burning space heaters (e.g., kerosene heaters).
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Postby Wilberforce » Mon Aug 27, 2007 10:10 pm

woodburner wrote:So fine particles are bad for us. Ok, let's ban lawnmowers, snowmobiles, all kinds of stuff actually.

We don't have to BAN all (useful) polluting devices, we just have to clean them up. To the best of my knowledge,
diesel exhaust has absolutely zero emission regulations. That doesn't mean zero emissions, that means zero
regulations! Same goes for small engines. The govt has been leaning on the car companies for 45 years, and
they have achieved astounding results in pollution reduction for cars. But they have not even touched diesel
or small engines. Can someone explain why not? What's the problem? When is something going to happen?
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Postby VT Woodburner » Tue Aug 28, 2007 4:39 am

To the best of my knowledge,
diesel exhaust has absolutely zero emission regulations. That doesn't mean zero emissions, that means zero
regulations!


You are dead wrong on that one! CA, NY, VT, ME, and MA have banned diesels in automobiles and light duty trucks. If that ain't regulation, nothing is!

Same goes for small engines. The govt has been leaning on the car companies for 45 years, and
they have achieved astounding results in pollution reduction for cars. But they have not even touched diesel
or small engines.


Again, wrong. Haven't you heard of Biodiesel? Haven't you heard of the new diesels? They burn as clean as any gas engine and will be allowed in the above states as they DO PASS the pollutuion standards.

Can someone explain why not? What's the problem? When is something going to happen?

While you spent all your time complaining, plenty has been done. BLUETEC diesels are the engines of the future. In Europe almost 50% of cars sold have diesels and routinely get 50+ MPG. If we converted over we could cut our oil demand by 30%. And I would buy one tomorrow! I LIKED the VW diesel I had 25 years ago.

But while we're at it, let's regulate home oil and propane burners too! They pollute much more than my woodstove! You just don't SEE the pollutants, so nobody says anything. Bring them under EPA controls too!

And I do agree that snowmobiles and ATVs should have pollution devices on them.
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Postby Wilberforce » Tue Aug 28, 2007 6:10 pm

You are dead wrong on that one! CA, NY, VT, ME, and MA have banned diesels in automobiles and light duty trucks.
If that ain't regulation, nothing is!


I meant the Feds, but if those states are doing what you say, that's a start.



Haven't you heard of the new diesels? They burn as clean as any gas engine and will be allowed in the above states
as they DO PASS the pollutuion standards.


I'll believe that when I see it. Just yesterday I was driving behind a brand new diesel-powered Ford F-150 truck. The truck
was nice looking and shiny, but the exhaust smelled horrible. This is typical. If they have something clean in the works,
I haven't seen (smelled) it yet. 'Clean diesel' is an oxymoron, as far as I'm concerned.

The govt has regulated car exhaust for the last 45 years (since the early 1960s). Why have the car companies waited
45 years to start becoming concerned about diesel pollution? Answer: the govt never forced them to. That proves that
the car companies would have never done a thing about car pollution either, in all of those years, had they not been
forced to.

What the govt has done is regulate the sulfur content of the diesel fuel. That's fine, but diesel's biggest problem is with
nitrogen oxides, not sulfur. I'm soon going to jump into that topic.
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Postby VT Woodburner » Wed Aug 29, 2007 4:50 am

THe current Ford diesel is a Navistar diesel. Just as Dodge has a Cummins. Those are heave duty trucks. But haven't you heard of the Mercedes diesel? The Jeep Liberty diesel? The famous VW diesels? They are about to be launched for '08. And they are as clean as any gasoline powered engine. They pass ALL emissions regulations.

And once the new diesels are online, maybe the taxis in the cities will convert and save resources. Plus they'll last a lot longer.

What the govt has done is regulate the sulfur content of the diesel fuel. That's fine, but diesel's biggest problem is with
nitrogen oxides, not sulfur. I'm soon going to jump into that topic.


And what are YOU going to do about it? Besides complain? You have given long term solutions to problems. But what are your short term solutions? Besides telling someone else how to live?
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Postby woodburner » Wed Aug 29, 2007 5:20 am

Woodnyet: From what I've seen on this forum, I think that BurningIssues would ban all wood stoves from use if they could.
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Postby Wilberforce » Wed Aug 29, 2007 12:22 pm

VT woodburner wrote:And what are YOU going to do about it? Besides complain? You have given long term solutions to problems.
But what are your short term solutions? Besides telling someone else how to live?

What am I going to do about diesel pollution? Raise public awareness about the health dangers.
The average Joe-Schmo driving a diesel has no idea of the potential dangers lurking in the wake of his vehicle.
Pollution from soot (particulate matter) is a well-known thing, but a much bigger danger is the nitrogen oxides.
These gases do nasty things to the lungs, throat, and nasal cavity.

Have you ever been behind a Mack truck when it accelerates from a stop? That pungent smelling reddish-brown
colored plume of exhaust you often see is NO2 (nitrogen dioxide). If you support diesel, may you take a big,
deep breath of this stuff and chant the mantra: "I love the smell of diesel in the morning!"*

In all fairness though, you have pointed out that there are improvements being made in the newest vehicles.
The question remains though, what can be done with the millions of existing polluting vehicles still on the road?
Diesel engines are built so ruggedly that they last for hundreds of thousands of miles. It's not likely that the
current situation will improve soon. Like I said before, if the manufacturers would have started on this forty years
ago, we would by now be seeing huge improvements of city air quality.

*In the movie: 'Apocalypse Now,' Robert Duval's character chants "I love the smell of napalm in the morning!"
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Postby Wilberforce » Wed Aug 29, 2007 1:35 pm

woodburner wrote:Woodnyet: From what I've seen on this forum, I think that BurningIssues would ban all wood stoves from use if they could.

I can't speak for others on this forum. As I've said repeatedly, in my humble opinion, wood-heating is perfectly appropriate,
if it is done with low-emissions in mind, only in cold weather, and only in very low population density areas.
If it's more economical for you, good for you. Why buy expensive heating oil from that burrheaded dictator of Venezuela?

I just wish you guys wouldn't keep harping on people who live in cities, and are the unfortunate recipients of smoke from
inconsiderate people having outdoor fires in their small city-lot backyards.

Furthermore, I believe that wood should NEVER be burned for purely entertainment reasons, unless one lives out in a
wide-open space (farmland or remote cabin up in the mountains).

Some small-backyard burners claim that they are just trying to heat their outdoor patio. Why does someone need to heat
their patio on a muggy summer night when it's 80 degrees and 80% humidity?
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Postby FriendofAir » Wed Aug 29, 2007 3:47 pm

woodburner wrote:Woodnyet: From what I've seen on this forum, I think that BurningIssues would ban all wood stoves from use if they could.


I can't speak for "Burning Issues", but people don't have a problem with wood stoves, people have a problem with smoke, soot and ash.

Several members of the forum appear to be very conscientious about their wood burning, using the latest technology, best techniques and live in a rural environment. Unfortunately, not all wood burners are like you guys and a few bad apples can spoil a bunch of the neighborhood.

While I would not support a ban on wood stoves (or cigarettes) in appropriate areas, my attitude is similar to that of Woodnyet and nuisance laws already in place.

My neighbor shouldn't be able to disturb my right to "quiet enjoyment" by creating noise that comes onto my property, nor should he be able to throw his garbage over the fence onto my property. I see smoke similar to the garbage analogy.

I would support a ban on wood burning in most, if not all metropolitan areas of Southern California. To me that's a no-brainer.
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Postby woodburner » Thu Aug 30, 2007 6:24 am

"I would support a ban on wood burning in most, if not all metropolitan areas of Southern California. To me that's a no-brainer."

I agree. I also would certainly file nuisance complaints if I had a neighbor who created a lot of smoke and it became a nuisance.

I think Mary should clear this up and state what her goals are. Would she ban all use of wood stoves in the US if she could? All articles on this website are with no mention of the fact that this organization is based out of CALIFORNIA!!!! It needs to be realized that there is a massive difference between somebody using a fireplace in San Francisco on a "chilly" evening with houses every 20 feet, and myself burning wood on my acre lot in upstate NY. I have yet to see this organization concede that fact.

If you are creating a legitimate nuisance then you should fix the problem. Also if you live in an area like southern california where you rarely need heat at all, and have a large smog problem already (because of cars mind you), then sure ban wood stoves there.
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Postby Wilberforce » Thu Aug 30, 2007 8:07 pm

Friend of Air:

My neighbor shouldn't be able to disturb my right to "quiet enjoyment" by creating noise that comes onto my property,
nor should he be able to throw his garbage over the fence onto my property. I see smoke similar to the garbage analogy.


That is a very good analogy. That is exactly what smoke is: garbage in gaseous form.


I would support a ban on wood burning in most, if not all metropolitan areas of Southern California.

I am quite surprised to learn that any type of wood fires are allowed at all in Southern California.

I've always been under the impression that there are very strict air-pollution rules in the State of California. For example,
do you have to undergo mandatory annual vehicular emissions testing, or is this just in congested areas, as in L.A.?
What would happen if a car owner removed his catalytic converter? Finally, do the police pull over a car when they see
thick clouds of blue smoke belch out of its exhaust pipe? In Michigan, the cops don't seem to care much about that.
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Postby FriendofAir » Thu Aug 30, 2007 9:54 pm

In California, fireplaces and fire pits are the rage (very romantic and nostalgic you know) but cigarettes are being banned even in the outdoors because of second hand smoke. Go figure.

Yes, you will get pulled over for a smoky exhaust pipe. Smoky fireplaces and firepits are not given a second thought.
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