Wood smoke a health concern

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Wood smoke a health concern

Postby Wilberforce » Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:43 pm

Wood smoke a health concern

By: Posted: Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014 03:33 pm


It is 25 years since an independent study determined that parts of Canmore are the most polluted places in the province in terms of smoke and carcinogens as a result of residential wood burning. Times have changed, although not for the better, as urban wood burning is spreading and many Canadians are now being exposed to high levels of pollution as a result of their neighbours’ burning wood in fireplaces, stoves, outdoor wood furnaces, fire pits and chimneys. Particularly troubling is the amount of residential wood burning in the urban centres of the national parks, with Field the most polluted. Only a few municipalities have taken measures to protect the public. Golden is to be commended, but Montreal and Hampstead’s plans to phase out wood burning by 2020 deserve special commendations.

I appreciate the replies from several residents, to my letter-to-the-editor, published some months ago, who noted that most of the wood stoves in Canmore are the newer low emission designs. Unfortunately the emission-reduction features on the EPA/CSA approved models have not been found to be very effective and now seven states are suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for approving models with dangerously high emission levels. Unfortunately, the Canadian Standards Association simply accepts EPA data.

As an expensive experiment the whole town of Libby, Montana had their wood stoves changed to the latest low emission designs. Even so, you would not want to live there as the air is still heavily polluted. In Australia, volunteers tended their wood stoves, day and night trying to achieve the emission levels claimed by the manufacturers but failed. Now Sydney, Australia has responded by establishing some wood smoke free subdivisions.

A new threat has surfaced in Alberta with the appearance of outdoor wood furnaces, which burn all year to heat homes and provide hot water. The emission levels are about double that of a wood stove and there are complaints from neighbours across North America. Unfortunately, to date, only about twenty municipalities have banned them.

Like cigarette smoke, exposure to wood smoke is mainly about the long-term consequences. There is no Canadian data available, but we can borrow from countries such as Australia and New Zealand that have calculated the cost to the health care system. In our climate, this comes out to be $15,000 per wood stove per year. No health care system can survive this burden and an end to residential wood burning is essential, not only in Canmore but across Canada.

Alan Smith,

Alberta Director Canadian Clean Air Alliance

http://www.rmoutlook.com/article/201407 ... th-concern
• 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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