Wildfires

Air out your smoke complaint here. We can give advice from members who have found themselves in a similar situation as yours, gasping for a breath of fresh air.

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Postby woodburner » Tue Nov 28, 2006 7:14 am

Umm I think we can all agree that heating/cooking with wood stoves "that were not equipped with a chimney to funnel the smoke outdoors", is a BAD thing.
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Postby bodhi » Tue Nov 28, 2006 8:05 am

yeah, i second that wood burner...
that might be close to smoking a cig without a filter.
~bodhi
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Lewtas paper

Postby ME-air » Tue Dec 19, 2006 8:48 am

Bodhi, I have finally had a chance to read and digest the 1991 paper by Professor Lewtas et al. The work does not explicitely state anywhere in it "wood smoke was shown to be 12X as carcinogenic as an equal volume of tobacco smoke". However...

Table IV shows the cancer unit risk from cigarette smoke to be 2.2E-6 lifetime risk/microgram extractable organic matter per cubic meter.

Table V shows the cancer unit risk from woodstoves to be 0.27E-4 lifetime risk/microgram extractable organic matter per cubic meter.

A comparison of the two shows that for each microgram of extractable organic matter inhaled per cubic meter, the cancer unit risk from woodstoves is indeed 12.3 times that of cigarette smoke. However, as woodburned has pointed out, sucking on the end of a cigarette draws more extractabel organic matter in your lungs than does woodsmoke after it has been released above the roofline of a house and diluted.

An even more disturbing point in this article is diesel exhaust. When you compare diesel exhaust to cigarettes, the cancer unit risk from diesel exhaust is 104 times that of cigarette smoke. The cancer unit risk from gasoline vehicles with a catalytic converter is 24 times that of cigarette smoke.

In still another article by Professor Lewtas entitled "Combustion Emissions: Contribution to Air Pollution, Human Exposure, and Risk to Cancer, and Related Effects", she states tobacco an other vegatative combustion (which includes grasses, forests, paper, etc.) emissions are less carcinogenic per unit of exposure in both animals and humans as compared to fossil fuel emissions (coal or petroleum combustion).

From a health impact standpoint, it appears emissions from petroleum combustion pose more of a risk than woodsmoke or cigarettes. This petroleum combustion is in vehicles, power plants, home heating system, etc.

It seems, from Professor Lewtas's writings, that the use of wood to heat one's house in a rural setting is better than combusting oil. It also appears that people calling for the ban of burning wood are ignoring the elephant in the closet called motor vehicle exhaust, specifically diesel.
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Dr. lewtas works

Postby bodhi » Tue Dec 19, 2006 10:40 am

Me-Air,
thanks for your info concerning the paper and stats:
that the data from tables in the paper does show: the cancer unit risk from woodstoves is indeed 12.3 times that of cigarette smoke.
(also noted: the lack of a definitive statement by the author concerning the above, therefore,
my profuse apology to jack pine)
if there are no copyright restrictions, please send me a copy...
my library was unable to get it, however i did see the tables in the Dr. Lewtas paper titled:
Complex mixtures of air pollutants: characterizing the cancer risk of polycyclic organic matter.
and the interesting recent work concerning wood smoke and cancer:
http://www.chestjournal.org/cgi/content ... /128/1/124

while it is true that some of the sources in air pollution are more toxic than others, each contributes to the total ambient airshed. this makes it obvious that we need alternate sources of energy. i would like to see solar and wind generated electricity. unfortunately the electric car as well as other cleaner energy sources have not become readily available. hmmmmmmm.
considering that 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, 1919-541-0888),
i'm thinking that a complete ban on wood burning would be an easy way to eliminate a huge source of seriously toxic material from the airshed.
~bodhi
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