Page 1 of 1

Wood smoke pollution and its reduction are voter’s top issue

PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:48 pm
by Wilberforce
Wood smoke pollution and its reduction are voter’s top issue

I am a longtime resident of Alameda, 25 years, and am carefully considering my choices for City Council this year based upon a very strong concern I have about the degradation of air quality in our community over the past several years — particularly in commercial areas — as a result of wood smoke pollution.

Alameda took an important step forward by banning cigarette smoke on Park Street. However, it is hard to even experience the benefits of that ban when so many areas on Park Street (Park and Santa Clara, for example) are awash in wood smoke from commercial establishments.

I have an academic and professional background in community health and am more than happy to share the scientific facts regarding the human health and environmental hazards created by wood (and charcoal) smoke.

But suffice it to say, wood smoke contains the same cancer-causing chemicals as secondhand cigarette smoke, with smaller particulate matter, which means deeper penetration into the lungs and blood stream of anyone who inhales it. It poses huge risks for young children and infants, as well as those who suffer from asthma or other health issues. Wood smoke inhalation raises blood pressure and strains even healthy lungs and hearts.

South Shore Shopping Center is another commercial location that is overwhelmed daily with wood smoke pollution that extends several blocks into neighboring residential areas. Inhaling the volume of smoke present, particularly on the Trader Joe’s side of the center, during a typical shopping trip is equal to inhaling the secondhand smoke from hundreds if not thousands of cigarettes.

Closing windows in residential neighborhoods does not guarantee that wood/charcoal smoke will not penetrate homes, although no one should be forced to close their windows in an attempt to breathe clean air. And of course, shoppers on foot on Park Street and at South Shore must breathe the air in those areas. There is no escaping the pollution.

It is also interesting to explore why the Bay Area Air Quality Management District has taken a hands-off approach to concerns related to local wood smoke pollution generated by numerous sources at commercial and residential locations — although the agency is promoting a change-out program for fireplaces and wood-burning heaters, which addresses one source of primarily seasonal/winter residential wood smoke pollution.

The bottom line is I want to support candidates dedicated to proactively working to protect the breathability of air in commercial (and residential) areas in Alameda 365 days per year. Who are those candidates?

Noelle Robbins

source ... or-island/
Letter: Gas-powered leaf blowers should be banned in Chico

Posted: 09/29/16, 11:53 PM PDT | Updated: 8 hrs ago
# Comments

Ah, the scent of fall is in the air: wood smoke, damp leaves, raw gas ... wait, what?

According to the California EPA, many two-stroke engine leaf blowers can emit 30 percent of unused fuel as exhaust. Edmunds Car Company tests showed that older “two-stroke leaf blowers pollute 23 times more carbon monoxide and almost 300 times more non-methane hydrocarbons than a 2011 Ford Raptor.” In fact, “the hydrocarbon emissions from a half-hour of yard work with a gas blower are about the same as a 3,900-mile drive from Texas to Alaska in a Raptor.”

Additionally, leaf blowers emit particulate matter, which can worsen asthma, bronchitis and other lung diseases. Coupled with the clouds of dust containing pollen, fungi and mold, spores, fecal matter, heavy metals, and toxic chemicals from herbicides, pesticides and street dirt, high velocity blowers pose a significant health hazard.

With high-density developments becoming the norm in Chico, it is time to consider the health challenges for residents, not to mention landscape workers, exposed daily to the unacceptably loud and polluting effects of leaf blowers. (In my experience, such noise and gas odors actually enter my house through vents when landscape workers are next door.) Twenty cities in California have banned them, and found that brooms, rakes, four-stroke engine lawn vacuums and electric blowers are cost effective alternatives. If Chico residents are concerned about their health, global warming and sustainable practices, then we need to phase out gas blowers.

— Michael Genga, Chico

source ... /160929670