Why the Open Burn Regulations in Allegheny County Matter

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Why the Open Burn Regulations in Allegheny County Matter

Postby Wilberforce » Thu Oct 09, 2014 8:21 pm

Why the Open Burn Regulations in Allegheny County Matter
Posted on October 7, 2014 by Commuter Connection Program in Blog and tagged Allegheny County, Allegheny County Department of Health, wood burning, wood smoke pollution.

October 7th, 2014
By: Mollie Simon

The air in Allegheny County is poised to get a little bit cleaner. The County Council will vote in the coming weeks on revised open burning regulations proposed by the Allegheny County Department of Health. When you think of air pollutants, wood smoke may not be top of mind, but in Allegheny County, over a third of all health complaints about air quality were related to wood burning.

Open Wood burning releases toxic pollutants such as Particulate Matter

The toxicity level of wood smoke is often compared to that of cigarette smoking. Burning wood or biomass gives off high amounts of carbon, nitrogen, sulfuric oxides, volatile organic compounds and particulate matter. These pollutants cause a whole host of problems from respiratory and asthma illnesses to a greater risk of heart complications. We would never want to expose a child to the dangers of second hand cigarette smoke, and the same logic should apply to the dangers of wood smoke pollution.

With the new regulations, no materials other than clean wood, propane or natural gas could be burned and open burning must occur at least 15 feet from the nearest neighbor’s property line, roadway or sidewalk. Also, no wood burning activities, with the exception of food preparation, could occur on Air Quality Action Days. These regulations would help to minimize wood smoke pollution and create a safe distance between sources of wood smoke and vulnerable neighbors.

The issue of wood smoke pollution comes down to a simple principal: the golden rule. The pollution created by burning wood and biomass creates a very serious threat to the neighbors and community members who live within close proximity. We have to think of our neighbors and the harm we are doing to them.
Open wood burning in drastically more pollutant than other forms of heat/energy

Open wood burning releases drastically more pollutant than other sources of energy. Source: Families For Clean Air

Though not as effective as an all-out ban on open burning, the regulations proposed in Allegheny County are a great first step to protecting the members of the Allegheny community from the threat of wood smoke pollution. These common sense rules will make a big difference in cleaning up the air we all breathe.

speak upAre you one of the thousands of people afflicted by wood smoke pollution? Submit a health complaint using this online forum.

http://iseesmokepa.org/2014/10/07/why-t ... ty-matter/
• 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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