The Mummy Speaks about why you don't want to burn wood.

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The Mummy Speaks about why you don't want to burn wood.

Postby pm2.5mary » Sat Dec 16, 2006 4:15 pm

Lung diseases like anthracosis were common ravages until reduced by the use of venting chimneys or home appliances run by natural gas or electricity. (Ed.: 70% of wood smoke pollution comes right back in the house so stick with natural gas or electricity or solar or conservation!)
The Mummy Speaks
By Sallie Baliunas : 25 Aug 2004, from TCS Daily:http://tcsdaily.com

MUMMYFIRE

Ancient remains preserved intentionally or accidentally tell much about past human diseases caused by indoor air pollution from poor quality energy supplies and equipment. Yet today in sub-Saharan Africa and regions of Asia more than 90 percent of households lack electricity and must rely on hazardously burning coal, wood, vegetation or dried animal dung in open hearths or poorly ventilated stoves for their cooking and heating needs.

Daily, thousands of Africans and Asians die as a result of that energy poverty. The irritating particles released by the unvented and unfiltered indoor biofuel burning lodge in the lungs and trigger pulmonary disease.

Globally, such indoor air pollution causes 36 percent of lower respiratory infection and 22 percent of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to the World Health Report 2003, Shaping the Future. Lower respiratory tract infections ranked as the second leading cause of deaths in children in poor countries worldwide in 2002, at a rate of about 18 percent or 1.8 million children. Lower respiratory tract infections are, the report notes, one of the leading causes of childhood mortality in sub-Saharan Africa.

The earlier disease burden from indoor air pollution in past cultures is revealed from preserved human remains by modern archaeological pathologists. Ancient Egyptian mummies have proven especially helpful in that task.

Mummification rituals, dating back about 4,600 years ago in northeastern Africa, attempted to preserve not only the body in physical resemblance, but also some internal organs. Why? Those Egyptian cultures envisioned the afterlife as a continued voyage of enjoyable earthly activities, so success in the afterlife, it was believed, required a well-preserved physical body, entombed for protection from predation and accompanied by food and useful artifacts like dolls that would later grow food for the dead. By the period of the New Kingdom (ca. 1550 to 1086 B.C.E.) mummification of the dead had advanced far enough in technology to retain soft tissues and body likeness three thousand years later.

To mummify a body, those trained in the art began by making an incision in the left side of the lower torso and removing the stomach, intestines, liver and lungs. The brain would also be removed through a nostril. The heart was believed to manage the body, so it was left in place to do its work in the afterlife. The otherwise emptied shell would be packed with a dessicating chemical, natrol, made of sodium carbonate and sodium bicarbonate.

Within six weeks the corpse had dried and was packed, coated with resin and linen, then wrapped with linen bandages. The removed internal organs were placed into four stone canopic jars, the stoppers of each being painted with the likeness of a different god who guarded the contents. This process continued approximately until the end of the New Kingdom, after which the internal organs were sometimes wrapped and packed into the dried body.

In the 19th Dynasty, privilege surrounded Henutmehyt (ca. 1295 - 1186 B.C.E.), the chantress of the god Amun. She survived to old age and was buried in Thebes, and her remains and tomb contents are now cared for by the British Museum. Henutmehyt's wealth granted us an elaborate depiction of burial rituals that have survived the worst destructive forces through time. The innermost of her nested, human-shaped coffins is gilded everywhere except where artificial eyes, eyebrows and hair create an eternal, youthful image of beauty for her afterlife journey.

The soft tissue remains in Henutmehyt's canopic jars confirm both her long life, and also that she was afflicted with anthracosis -- the accumulation of carbonaceous particles in the lungs. The disease was likely a result of breathing indoor air polluted by open fires for cooking and heating. Thus, despite her wealth, Henutmehyt suffered energy and technology impoverishment three millennia ago compared to that of modern developed economies.

Lung diseases like anthracosis were common ravages until reduced by the use of venting chimneys or home appliances run by natural gas or electricity.

So it is unsurprising that the lungs of the 5,300 year old Tyrolean ice man, whose soft tissues were unintentionally preserved inside his frozen body, were also pocked with anthracosis. Or that the well-preserved ribs of the skeletons buried in the volcanic ash of Vesuvius' eruption and in coastal mud of nearby Herculaneum in 79 C.E. also indicate the occurrence of anthracosis. Or that the Grotta Rossa mummy of ancient Rome shows anthracosis that is relatively advanced for the youth of the body.

The disease is also present in bodies only several centuries old preserved after burial in cold, dry conditions in Greenland.

Today, with half the population of the world still plagued by the unsafe and unhealthy indoor air pollution from burning biofuels such as animal dung and wood, the great need is not for a return to the past. Grace would argue for the promotion of economic growth and with it the adoption of advanced, cleaner energy practices employed in the rest of the world.

Further reading:

The British Museum Book of Ancient Egypt, 1992, edited by Stephen Quirke and Jeffrey Spencer, Thames & Hudson, 240pp.

Mummies in a New Millennium, 2002, edited by Niels Lynnerup, Claus Andreasen and Joel Berglund, Greenland National Museum and Archives and Danish Polar Center, 208pp.

Indoor pollution and respiratory diseases in Ancient Rome, 2000, Luigi Capasso, The Lancet, 356, 1774.


"Particulate pollution is the most important contaminant in our air. ...we know that when particle levels go up, people die. " (Joel Schwartz, Ph.D., Harvard School of Public Health, E Magazine, Sept./Oct. 2002)
Find more at http://burningissues.org
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Postby woodburner » Mon Dec 18, 2006 7:50 am

"by the use of venting chimneys OR home appliances run by natural gas or electricity"

Umm this article is just saying that it's unhealthy to burn wood inside your house and not use a chimney. I think we all knew that.
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that's what it sounded like

Postby JackPine » Mon Dec 18, 2006 12:33 pm

Yes woodburner, that is what it sounded like it was saying. It is breaking news to people to vent combustion sources outside?

Mary, I noticed at the top you wrote "70% of wood smoke pollution comes right back in the house". Seems high if there is a properly installed chimney. If someone burns 4 cord of wood per year, and the average weight of each cord (air dried) is a ton, then the mass of wood combusted is 4 tons. Say 5% of that is ash which is removed manually, so then 3.8 tons goes into the air. Now more than that actually goes into the air because the C, H, N and such combine with oxygen making the combusted mass greater than the mass of the wood, but you also have to remove the mass of the moisture in the wood. Either way, lets say 3.8 tons of pollutants are emitted from the woodstove. Are you saying 2.66 tons of pollutants enter the house? I find that hard to believe.
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What I should have said about the 70%.

Postby pm2.5mary » Mon Dec 18, 2006 6:52 pm

Indoor Out-door ratios:

There are at least 10 studies that I know of but this should get you started. Also seeSee Burning Issues Fact Sheets:http://burningissues.org/fact-sheet.htm
for more information.
#15. (c ) The smoke pollution particles are so small that they filter into our homes even with all the doors and windows closed. The level of indoor air pollution is typically equal to 70% of the outdoor pollution level. (The Health Effects of Wood Smoke, Washington State Department of Ecology)

Sources: Jane Koenig and Timothy Larson, A Summary of Emissions Characterization and Non-cancer Respiratory Effects of Wood Smoke, USEPA DOC #453/R-93-036, 1-919-541-0888)
" Simultaneous Indoor and Outdoor Particle Light Scattering Measurements at Nine Homes Using a Portable Nephelometer" University of Washington, Dept. of Civil Engineering and Dept. of Environmental Health

Excerpts from Burning Issues Fact Sheets:

#7. In some neighborhoods, on some days, 90% of the particle pollution is from residential burning. (Jane Koenig and Timothy Larson, A Summary of Emissions Characterization and Non-cancer Respiratory Effects of Wood Smoke, USEPA DOC #453/R-93-036, 1-919-541-0888)

12. California:In middle class suburban California neighborhood indoor and outdoor PAH levels coincided with residential wood stove and fireplace use in the evenings of the heating season. Indoor levels averaged 60% of outdoor levels. Indoor-Outdoor PAH Time Series from the Residential Exposure Project, Technical Progress Report #1, Development of and Advanced Total Human Exposure Model, EPA Innovative Research Program, Nov. 1995, Wayne Ott, Ph.D; Neil Kleipus.

#15.(a) Wood smoke particle analyses show particle range between 0.15 and .4 microns, with essentially none greater than one micron, (Koenig, et al, 1993); (b) Burning Issues shows a photograph of wood particles taken from a woman's diseased lung on our website. Note the tissue piercing shape of the coated and uncoated wood fibers, (Interstitial Lung Disease and Domestic Wood Burning, Ramage, Roggli, Bell, and Piantadosi, 1987); (c ) The smoke pollution particles are so small that they filter into our homes even with all the doors and windows closed. The level of indoor air pollution is typically equal to 70% of the outdoor pollution level. (The Health Effects of Wood Smoke, Washington State Department of Ecology)

#26. "The largest single source of outdoor fine particles (PM2.5) entering into our homes in many American cities is our neighbor's fireplace or wood stove. Despite the ineffectiveness of a fireplace in heating a home, only a few hours of wood burning in a single home at night can raise fine particle concentrations in dozens of surrounding homes throughout the neighborhood and cause PAH concentrations higher than 2,000 ng/m3. The far reaching implications of these scientific discoveries for environmental laws have not yet sunk in the Nation's consciousness. The best way to reduce the exposures of our children and families to toxic pollutants that cause cancer, asthma, or other diseases is by taking very simple steps in our daily lives, not relying on billion-dollar "remediations" or complex laws controlling industrial point source emissions. Indeed, ignoring indoor air pollution and human exposure as the nation is doing under its current environmental laws, is a tragic disregard of our children's health and the well-being of future generations." ( Dr. Wayne Ott, Statistics, Stanford University, 2/1/98)
"Particulate pollution is the most important contaminant in our air. ...we know that when particle levels go up, people die. " (Joel Schwartz, Ph.D., Harvard School of Public Health, E Magazine, Sept./Oct. 2002)
Find more at http://burningissues.org
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70% number

Postby ME-air » Tue Dec 19, 2006 7:14 am

Thank you Mary. I must have read the quote wrong from your previous post. I thought it meant that 70% of the pollution from a woodstove enters the house, which still sounds unlikely. After reading the articles, it sounds like the pollution inside the house is 70% of the outside levels. Now that makes more sense. However, this all depends on the location and is not a situation which would arise everywhere. A community with 30 houses over 10 acres is more likely to have such a problem than 30 houses over 150 acres. Throw the terrain into the situation and it gets more tricky.
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