Cough, cough…Vanderhoof’s air a problem

What is the Canadian government doing to stop air pollution?

Cough, cough…Vanderhoof’s air a problem

Postby Wilberforce » Thu Mar 29, 2018 6:47 pm

Cough, cough…Vanderhoof’s air a problem

Wood stove replacement program largely ignored

Tim Collins
Mar. 15, 2018 9:50 a.m.News

Air quality in Vanderhoof is a problem that can be traced back, in part, to the widespread use of wood stoves but, according to Hillary Irvine, Deputy Director of Community Development for the District of Vanderhoof, there seems to be very little interest in programs aimed at remedying the situation.

“It might be that we just don’t have a lot of money for the program, and people are looking at the expense involved and deciding that their wood stove isn’t the problem,” said Irvine.

“We offer $500 toward the replacement of the old wood stove for a pellet burning appliance, and $800 for the conversion to gas, but the cost of those conversions is a lot more so we haven’t really captured the interest of people (in Vanderhoof).”

The program, operated by the B.C. Lung Association in cooperation with the provincial government, was last year responsible for the replacement of 600 old style wood stoves in B.C. and the organization is hoping to replace another 600 this year. In total, the organization claims to have been responsible for the replacement of 6,600 stoves since the program began in 2008.

Still, there are still an estimated 70,000 of the polluting wood stoves in use across the province, so the elimination of the pollution spewing culprits is no where in sight under the current rate of replacement. (By our calculations it would take 116 years.)

And it doesn’t require an in depth analysis of the studies of fine particulate matter issued by the B.C. Ministry of Environment and Northern Health to determine that there is a problem with air quality in Vanderhoof and other communities in the region.

On some days, all that’s required is for one to step outdoors and take a breath.

The past week has seen the Ministry issue a series of air quality advisories in which residents are advised to stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise until such time as conditions improve.

Generally, that improvement is dependant upon a stiff breeze moving the contaminated air out of the valley where Vanderhoof is located and where temperature inversions can trap the smoke for extended periods of time, allowing it to build up to the point where air quality advisories are needed.

It’s a counter-intuitive situation for those who are unfamiliar with the situation in northern B.C. and whose impression of the region as being the bastion of clean air and water runs headlong into the reality of air quality conditions generally only found in congested urban centres.

According to the Ministry, despite the fact that wood smoke contains fine particulate matter (PM2.5) which can cause chronic and acute respiratory and cardiac diseases, especially among children and the elderly, it is often considered a “more natural form” of pollution and not taken as seriously as, say, vehicle exhaust or industrial air pollution.

Of course, wood burning stoves are not the only culprits in contributing to bad air quality.

The PM2.5 is also created through industrial burning of wood scraps, dust from heavy equipment use, and forest fires.

“I think that there are some folks who look toward the mill in town as the cause of the smoke in the air, but that’s probably not the case. I know they’ve pretty much changed the way they deal with materials. I understand they have shut down their bee-hive burners and have become a lot more responsible about the environment,” said Mayor Gerry Thiessen.

“We’re sitting in this valley and the smoke from wood stoves, I think, just gets trapped here and we have to wait for it to be blown out. The answer is probably in replacing all those wood stoves.”

But Irvine reported that there has been very little interest in the wood stove replacement program and that she has received only one application and four general inquiries since advertising the program on Facebook some weeks ago.

In an effort to raise awareness and promote the exchange program, the municipality is hostinga “Burn-it Smart” workshop at the Friendship Centre in Vanderhoof on Tuesday, March 20 at 6:30 p.m.. The workshop will offer advice on how to best cut and store wood, how to test the moisture content in that wood and how to burn in the most efficient way. Participants are encouraged to bring wood from home to be tested.

The workshop was hosted by the Wood Energy Technicians of B.C..

More information on the Wood Stove Replacement Program is available at bc.lung.ca/protect-your-lungs/wood-smoke-initiatives/bc-wood-stove-exchange-program.

source
https://www.ominecaexpress.com/news/cou ... a-problem/
• 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!
User avatar
Wilberforce
 
Posts: 6093
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 11:36 pm
Location: USA

Re: Cough, cough…Vanderhoof’s air a problem

Postby Wilberforce » Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:53 pm

Air pollution is a Vancouver problem….right? Nope – it’s a Vanderhoof problem
March 16, 2018
Poor air quality in Vanderhoof

Air quality in Vanderhoof has been poor for at least the past 6 years relative to federal standards for PM2.5 and relative to air quality in other communities in the province. The community is one of only two in BC that have consistently been categorized in the highest priority “red” air zone management level from 2011-2016. (State of the Air 2017).
Air quality levels dangerous

Vanderhoof’s often poor air quality is dangerous for athletes, children, the elderly, and those with medical conditions such as diabetes, lung disease (such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema), and heart disease.

Children, pregnant mothers and others who live in areas with poor air quality have more poor health outcomes than those who live in sections of a community with better air quality.

Long-term exposure to poor air quality increases rates of allergies and asthma, low birth weights, atherosclerosis, poorer lung development in children, lung cancer and ear infections.

According to the BC Lung Association, even short-term increases in PM2.5 are associated with an increased risk of heart attacks among those over 65 years of age.

Air pollution in your neighbourhood

Mobile air quality survey

In early 2017 the B.C. Ministry of Environment and UBC researchers used scientific instruments to measure PM2.5 concentrations and to evaluate the sources of particulate matter. The instruments were installed in a vehicle equipped with a GPS which was driven around Vanderhoof.

A similar instrument was temporarily installed at the Vanderhoof Courthouse.

Data gathered showed that wood smoke was a major source of PM2.5 pollution during the monitoring campaign. Road dust also contributed to PM2.5 levels during the monitoring period.

UBC MSc Candidate Matthew Wagstaff indicates, “The woodsmoke survey shows the average of night time monitoring, so this is the pattern when woodsmoke is likely to be the dominant PM2.5 source (high stove usage in the evening when temperatures are lower and people are at home, and low traffic).”

Vanderhoof hotspots

Measurements from the Vanderhoof route show hotspots in the northwest and northeast of Vanderhoof, as well as north of the Nechako river. The maps are shaded based on their Z-scores, which show how each point compares with the overall mean of the community (which is equal to a Z score of 0) during the monitoring period.
PM2.5 levels and heart attacks

Northern Health and the BC Lung Association examined the relationship between short-term changes in ambient PM2.5 concentrations and admissions to the hospital for heart attacks. The study showed that short-term increases of 5 PM2.5 readings were associated with an increased heart attack risk for subjects 65 years and older. The association between PM2.5 and heart attack was stronger during periods when biomass-related contributions to PM2.5 were highest.

Vanderhoof’s level could be high due to its topography – since it’s located in a valley some particulate matter from industry or wood-burning stoves can get trapped, especially in the winter.

Dr. Tanner Alden, born and raised in Vanderhoof, BC and providing naturopathic medical services from Nechako Valley Wellness, recognizes the health impacts of poor air quality.

Dr. Alden explains that high levels PM2.5 “in the air causes a strong inflammatory response and a decrease in the antioxidant content of the lungs, resulting in higher levels of oxidative stress. In addition to prescription medications, such as bronchodilator inhalers, Dr. Alden offers natural and traditional forms of medicines that help ease the additional health burdens of air pollution.
How to tell if smoke is affecting you

High concentrations of smoke can trigger a range of symptoms.

Anyone may experience burning eyes, a runny nose, cough, phlegm, wheezing and difficulty breathing.
If you have heart or lung disease, smoke may make your symptoms worse
People with heart disease might experience chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, or fatigue.
People with lung disease may not be able to breathe as deeply or as vigorously as usual, and may experience symptoms such as coughing, phlegm, chest discomfort, wheezing and shortness of breath.

Wood burning

Air pollution that poses the most serious threat to our health is caused by wood-burning. Wood-burning creates particles, similar to dust, but so small you can’t see it without special equipment.

Because the particles (dust) are so small they can travel deep into the lungs and become lodged, there, causing serious health issues like heart and lung disease and premature death.

Even small reductions in smoke and particulate matter can have a large health impact! Like uncontaminated food and safe drinking water, the quality of air that we breathe is fundamental to good health and well-being.

Take action – protect the health of your neighbours and community

Simple steps you can take to improve Vanderhoof air quality:

burn only split, seasoned wood (dried for at least 6 months and split pieces into smaller than 10-15 cm)
reduce use of wood burning appliances, if you can, during air quality advisories
upgrade to a newer, more efficient wood stove stove or fireplace (funding available)
don’t allow your fire to smoulder, as low-heat fire produces more pollutants than a hot fire

Information sources

Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards (CAAQS) for PM2.5 (BC ENV, 2017a)
Vanderhoof 2017 Wood-Burning Appliance Survey Results Final Report
Residential Woodsmoke Monitoring Report Vanderhoof and Fraser Lake – February 2017 prepared by Matthew Wagstaff (UBC MSc Candidate)
BC Lung Association
BC Lung Association State of the Air 2017 report
BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy Environmental Protection Division survey of Vanderhoof Wood Burning Appliance
Northern Health
Environmental Health Perspectives, Volume 114 Number 6 June 20016 page 813
Nepis.epa.gov

source
https://vanderhoofonline.com/air-pollut ... f-problem/
• 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!
User avatar
Wilberforce
 
Posts: 6093
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 11:36 pm
Location: USA


Return to Canadian Environmental Issues

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron