Burning Issues

References for Wood Smoke Brochure

3/23/03 One of Ameica's largest sources of pollution that is responsible for 30,000 deaths each year


Emission Comparisons of Different
Heating Fuels
A wood stove is over 500 times dirtier than a
modern oil burner and a 1000 times dirtier
than heating with gas! (Pugent Sound Air Pollution Control Agency, WA, USA 1996)

Heating with a wood
stove for one season generates as much pollution
as driving a car 130,000 miles.


Solar Wind
The Energy Pyramid
(cleanest fuel at the top to the dirtiest fuel at the bottom)
Kirk Smith, Ph.D, University of CA at Berkeley,

2 With all of this information,
wouldn't you think that
every child might:
Live in a smoke-free and clean energy,
non-wood-burning home and learn in a smokefree
Expect education, athletic and recreation
facilities to be smoke-free, so that scholastic
and athletic achievements are not limited by
uncontrolled asthma and lost school days due to

Be cared for by a supportive physician
who explains to parents and teachers the dangers
of wood smoke and tobacco smoke and
their role in causing: asthma, immune system
damage leading to auto-immune diseases,
respiratory damage, increased risk of infection,
aggravation of heart disease, and cancer.


Learn self-management skills to minimize
exposure to smoke and to have confidence
they will not be exposed to hazardous combustion
toxins contained in tobacco smoke and
wood smoke whether at home, school or play.
Expect adults entrusted with their care
to understand how to handle pollution emergencies
and expect public guardians to protect them
from smoke and other hazardous pollutants.


3 In the last 10 years the number of children
suffering from asthma has doubled.
According to a survey by the CDC, one
child in seven (8.6 million nationwide) has been
diagnosed with asthma, and the numbers have
been growing at an alarming rate. It is the most
common childhood disease and the leading
cause of absenteeism from school.


The largest single source of outdoor
fi ne particles (PM2.5) in many American and Canadian cities
is our neighbor's fi replace or wood stove.


particulate matter in wood smoke is so small
that closed doors and windows cannot stop it
from entering, even in newer energy-effi cient
weather-tight homes. 90% of wood smoke
is in the tiny size particle range (PM2.5)
averaging less than 1 micron (one millionth of
a meter), [4] [28]

allowing the fi ne particles to remain
airborne for up to 3 weeks. [4]
The particles are so
small that they can penetrate into the deepest
recesses of the lungs.
These particles become
effi cient vehicles for transporting toxic gases,
bacteria and viruses deep into the lungs where
they do the most damage and cannot be coughed
up, and from where the chemicals pass directly
into the blood stream.


Tobacco smoke and wood smoke are
very similar in chemical composition.

the chemicals and gases of wood smoke
and tobacco smoke has been linked not only to
health problems, but also to substance abuse.

There is concern that children from areas with

high levels of wood smoke may be more likely
to begin smoking tobacco. [34]

Homes in wood burning areas also have
increased rates of low birth weight and Sudden
Infant Death Syndrome, (SIDS).


We can reduce our children's exposure
to toxic pollutants by taking very simple measures
in our daily lives: avoiding the use of
wood burning appliances and tobacco. Many
lives could be saved at little or no cost.
For more information, full references, and
links to EPA data please visit:

4What's in Wood Smoke?
Wood smoke contains over 100 different
chemicals and compounds, including
dioxin, as well as lead, cadmium and arsenic.
Below is a partial list:
*+carbon monoxide, methane, VOCs (C2-C7),
*aldehydes, +formaldehyde, *+acrolein, +propionaldehyde,
butyl aldehyde, +acetaldehyde,
furfural, substituted furans, +benzene, +alkyl
benzenes, +toluene, acetic acid, formic acid,
*nitrogen oxides (NO, NO2), *sulfur dioxide,
+methyl chloride, +naphthalene, +substituted
naphthalenes, oxygenated monoaromatics,
guaiacol (and derivatives), *+phenol (and
derivatives), syringol (and derivatives), +catechol
(and derivatives), *+particulate organic
carbon, oxygenated polycyclic aromatic
hydrocarbons, +PAHs: fl uorene, phenanthrene,
+anthracene, methylanthracenes, +fl uoranthene,
*+pyrene, +benzo(a)anthracene, +chrysene,
+benzofl uoranthenes, *+benzo(e)pyrene,
*+benzo(a)pyrene, *perylene, +ideno(1,2,3-
cd)pyrene, *benz(ghi)perylene, *coronene,
+dibenzo(a,h)pyrene, retene,
dibenz(a,h)anthracene, trace elements: Na, Mg,
Al, Si, S, Cl, K, Ca, Ti, V, +Cr, +Mn, Fe, +Ni,
Cu, Zn, Br, +Pb; particulate elemental carbon,
normal alkanes (C24-C30), cyclic di-and triterpenoids,
dehydroabietic acid, isopimaric acid,
lupenone, friedelin, +chlorinated dioxins
* Indicates a chemical also found in cigarette smoke
+Indicates a chemical that is classifi ed as toxic by U.S. Law
[30] [36]
Wood Smoke Chemical Composition ! Indicates a chemical present in both wood smoke and tobacco smoke
! Indicates a hazardous chemical for which ATSDR has prepared a toxicological profile O Indicates a chemical classified as a carcinogen by the US government " Indicates a chemical that is one of the Top 20 CERCLA priority hazardous substances 1-275 Indicates position on the CERCLA priority hazardous substances list
! ! 198 carbon monoxide, 66 methane, volatile organic compounds
(C 2 -C 7 ), aldehydes: ! ! O 245 formaldehyde, ! ! 72 acrolein,
propionaldehyde, butyraldehyde, ! acetaldehyde, furfural;
substituted furans, ! ! O " 6 benzene, alkyl benzenes: ! ! O 68 toluene,
! acetic acid, ! formic acid; ! ! nitrogen oxides (NO, NO 2 ),
! sulfur dioxide, ! methyl chloride, ! ! 77 naphthalene, ! substituted
naphthalenes, oxygenated monoaromatics: guaiacol (and
derivatives), ! ! 162 phenol (and derivatives), syringol (and
derivatives), ! catechol (and derivatives); particulate organic carbon,
oxygenated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, !" 9 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: ! ! 270 fluorene, ! ! 219 phenanthrene, ! ! anthracene, methylanthracenes,
! ! 106 fluoranthene, ! ! 249 pyrene, ! ! O 34 benzo(a)anthracene,
! ! 117 chrysene, ! ! O " 10 60 70 benzofluoranthenes, ! benzo(e)pyrene,
! ! O " 8 benzo(a)pyrene, ! perylene, ! ! O 180 indeno(1,2,3-cd)
pyrene, ! benzo(ghi)perylene, coronene, ! O dibenzo(a,h)pyrene,
retene, ! ! O " 16 dibenz(a,h)anthracene; trace elements: Sodium,
Magnesium, ! 186 Aluminum, Silicon, Sulfur, 96 Chlorine, Potassium,
Calcium, Titanium, ! 197 Vanadium, ! ! O Chromium,
! 138 Manganese, Iron, ! ! O 53 Nickel, ! Copper, ! 73 Zinc, Bromine,
! ! O " 2 Lead; particulate elemental carbon, normal alkanes
(C 24 -C 30 ), cyclic di-and triterpenoids, dehydroabietic acid,
isopimaric acid, lupenone, friedelin, ! O chlorinated dioxins
Sources: Larson TV and Koenig JQ. 1994. Wood Smoke: Emissions and Noncancer Respiratory Effects.
Table 1, Chemical composition of wood smoke. Annual Review of Public Health, v.15, p.136-137.
5 Breathing in wood smoke
is comparable to inhaling
second-hand cigarette smoke.
Many of the pollutants are similar to
those produced by burning tobacco. The EPA
estimates that wood smoke is 12 times more
carcinogenic than equal amounts of tobacco
smoke and attacks our body cells up to 40
times longer than tobacco smoke.
A single fi replace operating for an hour
and burning 10 pounds of wood during that time
will generate 4,300 times more carcinogenic
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons than 30 cigarettes.

The threat to human health comes
from the fi ne particulate matter - tiny particles
1/200th the size of a raindrop. Inhaling
wood smoke particulate matter increases the
incidence, duration and severity of respiratory
disease, striking hardest at children,
the elderly and those with lung or heart disorders.


The EPA warns that there is no safe
level of these carcinogens.
US EPA [5]

Fireplaces and wood stoves are estimated
to be the origin of 35% of fine-particle
pollution as a national average. [4]

Each pound of
wood burned costs the entire community $2 in
increased medical costs and lost work days.
That is equivalent to $40 for an average fi re
burning 20 pounds of wood. [46]

Air pollutants also cause immune system
damage, which can lead to asthma, allergies and
auto-immune diseases.

Air pollutants have also
been linked to psychological disorders and
toxic damage to the nervous system and the
brain, especially in developing fetuses or young

The number of deaths attributed to particulate
pollution exceeds the number of deaths

from major cancers like breast cancer and prostate
cancer and exceeds the deaths occurring

from auto accidents by more than 50%.

sulfur dioxide
benzene toluene
carbon monoxide
propionaldehyde acetaldehyde
alkyl benzenes
methyl chloride
catechol particulate organic carbon
chlorinated dioxins

6 Wood smoke is more than
a nuisance, it is a severe
health hazard!

England has banned wood and coal
burning in towns since 1956.

The Supreme
Court of Iowa declared in 1998 that government
bodies do not have the right to allow burning
resulting in smoke crossing property lines.
have healthier heating and cooking options.
Re-establish the right of every citizen
in this country to breathe clean air and not be
detrimentally impacted by fi ne particulate pollution.

As population densities increase, wood
burning becomes even more inappropriate
because smoke toxins cannot be prevented from
crossing property lines. [4]
Indoor PM2.5 levels[53]
from wood smoke in homes without wood
stoves reach at least 50-70% of outdoor levels.
When your neighbor is burning wood, deadly
pollutants are inside your house as well.

Protect yourself and your children.

1. Schwartz, J., Particulate AIr Pollution and Chronic Respiratory Disease, in Environmental Research. 1993. p. PP7-13.
2. USDHHS and D.o.H.a.H. Services, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome(SIDS) Research: A Selected Annotated Bibliography for 1989-1990, in National Center for Ed in Maternal and Child Health. 1990.
3. Schwartz, J., Air Pollution and Daily Mortality: A Review and Meta Analysis. Environmental Research, 1994.
4. Larson, T.V. and J.Q. Koenig, A Summary of the Emissions Characterization and the Noncancer Respiratory Effects of Wood Smoke;. 1993: p. 46pages.
5. Lewtas, J., R.B. Zweidinger, and L. Cupitt. Mutagenicity, Tumorigenicity and Estimation of Cancer Risk from Ambient Aerosol and Source Emissions from Woodsmoke and Motor Vehicles. in Air and Waste Management Association, 84th Annual Meeting and Exhibition, Vancouver, BC, June 16-21, 1991. 1991: US EPA.
6. Smith, K.R., The Biofuel Transition, in Pacific and Asian Journal of Energy. 1987.
7. Fick RB Jr and M.W. Paul ES, Reynolds HY, Loke JS., Alterations in the antibacterial properties of rabbit pulmonary macrophages
exposed to wood smoke. Am Rev Respir Dis., 1984. 1984 Jan;129(1): p. 76-81.
8. Zelikoff, J.T., Wood Smoke Emissions: Effects on Host Pulmonary Immune Defense, in Center for Indoor Air Research (CIAR) Currents. 1994. p. 1-2.
9. Zelikoff, J.T., et al. Compromised Pulmonary and Systemic Immune Responses in the Rat May Help Explain Increased Pulmonary Infections Observed in Woodsmoke-exposed Children. in Society of Toxicology. 1998. Seattle, WA: New York University School of Medicine, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Tuxedo, NY.
10. Larson, T.V. and J.Q. Koenig, An Assessment of the Noncancer Respiratory Risks Resulting from Exposure to Wood Smoke, in Puget Sound APCA. 1992, University of Washington, US EPA.
11. Zelikoff, J., et al., Immunomodulation by metals. Fund Appl Toxicol, 1994. 22(1-8): p. 269-286.
12. ALA, A.L.A., The Perils of Particulates, in to order: 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872). 1994, American Lung Association ALA.
13. Guneser, S. and A.N. Atici A, Cinaz P.,
Effects of indoor environmental factors on respiratory systems of children. J Trop Pediatr., 1994. Apr.; 40(2): p. 114-6.
14. Kou YR, L.C., R.c.i.b.p.e.b.i.o.w.s.i. rats., and J.A.P. 1994, Reflex changes in breathing pattern evoked by inhalation of wood smoke in rats. J Appl Physiol, 1994. Jun;76(6):2333-41.
15. Nieman GF, C.W.J., Paskanik A, Feldbaum D., Segmental pulmonary vascular resistance following wood smoke inhalation. Crit Care Med., 1995. Jul; 23(7): p. 1264-71.
16. Maier WC, A.H., Morray B, Llewellyn C, Redding GJ., , and 1997, Indoor risk factors for asthma and wheezing among Seattle school children. Environ Health Perspect., 1997. Feb;105(2): p. 208-14.
17. Robin LF, L.P., Winget M, Steinhoff M, Moulton LH, Santosham M, Correa A., Wood-burning stoves and lower respiratory illnesses in Navajo children. Pediatr Infect Dis J, 1996. Oct.15(10): p. 859-65.
18. Wesley AG, L.W., Assessment and 2-year follow-up of some factors associated with severity of
respiratory infections in early childhood. S Afr Med J, 1996. Apr;86(4): p. 365-8.
19. Hsu TH, L.Y., Kou YR., Smoke-induced airway hyperresponsiveness to inhaled wood smoke in guinea pigs:
tachykininergic and cholinergic mechanisms. Life Sci., 1998. 63(17):1513-24.
20. Hsu TH, L.Y., Kou YR., Wood smoke-induced airway hyperreactivity in guinea pigs: time course, and role
of leukotrienes and hydroxyl radical. Life Sci, 2000. 1(1: 2000;66(11):): p. 971-80.
21. Indoor air pollution and acute respiratory infections in children. Lancet., 1992. Feb 15;339(8790): p. 396-8.
22. Fairley, D., et al., Results from the 1991-92 Pilot Study of Wintertime PM10 in the San Francisco Bay Area, . 1992, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Technical Memorandum: San Francisco, CA.
23. Fairley, D. and R.D. Mandel, PM10 Particulate Levels in the San Francisco Bay Area, in Technical Memorandum 92003. 1993, Bay Area Air Quality Management District: San Francisco, CA.
24. Flessel, P. and e. al., Seasonal Variations and Trends in Concentrations of Filter-Collected PAH and Mutagenic Activity in the S.F. Bay Area, in Journal of Air Waste Management Association, 41:276-281 (1991). 1991.
25. Hildemann, L.M., G.R. Markowski, and G.R. Cass, Chemical Composition of Emissions from Urban Sources of Fine Organic Aerosol. Environmental Science Technology, Vol.25, No.4, 1991, 1991. Vol.25(4).
26. Larson, T., et al., Urban Air Toxics Mitigation Study, in University of Washington Dept. of Civil Engineering, Environmental Engineering and Science; submitted to. 1990, Puget Sound APCA: Seattle.
27. Fine, P.M., G.R. Cass, and B.R.T. Simoneit, Chemical Characterization of Fine Particle Emissions from Fireplace Combustion of Woods Grown in the Northeastern United States. Environmental Science & Technology, 2001. 35(13): p. 2665-2675.
28. Dasch, J.M., Particulate and Gaseous Emissions from Wood-Burning Fireplaces. Environmental Science and Technology,, 1982. 16(10): p. 639-645.
29. Mishra, V., Effect of Indoor Air Pollution from Biomass Combustion on Prevalence of Asthma in the Elderly. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2003. 111(1): p. 71-77.
30. EPA, Chemicals identified from Table 3-1 for Mainstream Cigarette Smoke,, . 1992, US EPA.
31. Rozenberg, M., Wood smoke tables and charts., . 2002, Burning Issues/Clean Air Revival, Inc.
32. Pletten, L., Tobacco Addiction Data, . 1999, The Crime Prevention Group.
33. Robinson, S.A. and S.M. Wolfe, Smoking: Its Adverse Effects on Airline Pilot Performance (Carbon Monoxide). Tobacco Documents Online, 1976(Jan).
34. Rosen M, H.M. Wall S, and N.L. Lindberg G, Smoking habits and their confounding effects among occupational groups in
Sweden. Scand J Soc Med, 1987. 15(4): p. 233-40.
35. Boy, E., B. N., and D. H, Birth weight and exposure to kitchen wood smoke during pregnancy in rural Guatemala. Environ Health Perspect, 2002. Jan;110(1): p. 109-114.
36. Cooper, J.A., Environmental Impact of Residential Wood Combustion Emissions and Its Implications. Air Pollution Control Association Journal APCA Journal 30(8):855-861 (1980), 1980. Vol. 30, No.8,( No.8, august 1980): p. PP.855-861.
37. USSG and S. General, Reducing the Health Consequences of Smoking., . 1989, US Surgeon General: Wash., D.C. p. p.81-89.
38. USDHHS, et al., Report on Carcinogens. Tenth, . 2002, (ATSDR) Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
39. USDHHS, List of Priority Hazardous Substances, . 2001, USDHHS
Department of Health and Human Services. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
40. EPA, et al., LONG-TERM PERFORMANCE OF EPA-CERTIFIED PHASE 2 WOODSTOVES, KLAMATH FALLS AND PORTLAND OREGON: 1998-1999, . 2000, National Risk Management Research Laboratory Research Triangle Park, NC 27711. p. pp.65.
41. Lewis, C.W., et al., Contribution of Woodsmoke and Motor Vehicle Emissions to Ambient Aerosol Mutagencity, in Environmental Science and Technology, 22(8):968-971 (1988). 1988.
42. Youn, Y.-K., C. Lalonde, and R. Demling, Oxidants and the pathophysiology of Burn and Smoke Inhalation Injury, in Free Radical Biology & Medicine, Vol 12, pp. 409-415. 1992.
43. Puttre, M., Environmental modeling helps clear the air., in Mechanical Engineering. 1994.
44. Ozkaynak, et al., Associations Between Daily Mortality, Ozone and Particulate Air Pollution in Toronto, Canada, in Colloquim on Particulates: morbidity & mortality. 1994.
45. Lewtas, J., Emerging Methodologies for Assessment of Complex Mixtures: Application of Bioassays in the Integrated Air Cancer Project. Toxicology and Industrial Health, Vol 5, #5, pp.839-850; copyright Princeton Scientific Publishing Co.,Inc. ISSN:0748-2337, 1989.
46. Hall, J., et al., The Economic Value of Quantifiable Ozone and PM10 Related Health Effects in the San Francisco Bay Area, report to the BAAQMD, . 1994, BAAQMD; to order call (415) 771-6000: San Francisco. p. 80 pages.
47. Pryor, W.A., Review article; reactions in the chem smoke itself. He states wood is 40 times worse than cigarettes. .
48. AMA, et al., Airing The Word On Pollution, . 1995, The American Medical Association (AMA).
49. Ryder, R.W., Lead Poisoning Among Children in Katowice, Poland. PSR (Physicians for Social Responsibility) Quarterly (A Journal of Medicine and Global Survival),, 1992. 2(2): p. 77-84.
50. Kinney, H.C., et al., Decreased Muscarinic Receptor Binding in the Arcuate Nucleus in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Science, Vol 269, pages, 1995. 269: p. 1446-1450.
51. IOWA, S.C.O. and , No. 192 / 96-2276: taking of private property for public use without just compensation in violation of federal and Iowa constitutional provisions, . 1998, LAVORATO, Justice.
52. Dockery, D., et al., An Association Between AIr Pollution and Mortality in Six U. S. Cities. New England Journal of Medicine, 1993. 329(21).
53. Anuszewski, J., T.V. Larson, and J.Q. Koenig, Simultaneous Indoor and Outdoor Particle Light-Scattering Measurements at Nine Homes Using a Portable Nephelometer, in University of Washington, Department of Civil Engineering and Department of Environmental Health. 1992.

Back to Burning Issues
Burning Issues
Box 1045
Point Arena CA 95468
Tel: 707-882-3601
Email: [pm10mary at mcn dot org]