Wood smoke pollution is fuelling asthma and lung complaints

What are the British, Australian, and New Zealand governments doing to stop air pollution?

Wood smoke pollution is fuelling asthma and lung complaints

Postby Wilberforce » Wed Jul 09, 2014 7:25 pm

Wood smoke pollution is fuelling asthma and lung complaints
on the northern beaches

Cayla Dengate
Manly Daily
July 10, 2014 12:01AM

Fireplaces are fuelling asthma and lung-related complaints on the northern beaches as wood smoke is trapped on cold nights, according to health experts.

The Asthma Foundation NSW chief executive ­Michele Goldman said wood heaters were the largest “hidden” source of air pollution in Australia, creating more pollution than tobacco or motor vehicles during the winter.

“Smoke from wood heaters is a major trigger for asthma complaints this time of year – probably about two thirds of all complaints,” Ms Goldman said.

NSW Environment Protection Authority chief environment regulator Mark Gifford said it wasn’t just asthmatics who were affected by wood smoke.

“For some people the smell of wood smoke may be comforting but it is not good for your health,” Mr Gifford said. “Smoke from wood heaters and open fireplaces contains a mix of noxious gases – carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen and a range of organic compounds – as well as fine particles that can be breathed deep into the lungs.”

Those fine particles cause irritation, and can move into the bloodstream and has a causal relationship to lung disease and cancer.

Mr Gifford said the effect of wood smoke on air quality varied from area to area and was related to a number of local factors.

“These include topography, prevailing weather conditions, housing density, and the number of wood heaters in use and how they are being operated,” Mr Gifford said.

“On cold, still and clear winter nights, wood smoke becomes trapped under a cold layer of air close to the ground rather than being dispersed or blown away. This elevates the levels of fine particles and causes the brown haze often seen on still winter mornings.”

Pittwater Mayor Jacqui Townsend said smoky chimneys were identified as a real problem in Pittwater.

“Through our Woodsmoke Reduction Program we’re looking to gather information from our residents about how they use their wood heaters via our online survey,” Cr Townsend said.

Warringah Council offers an air pollution service and Manly Council refers to NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water guidelines when considering applications for the installation of new solid fuel heaters.

Case study

Rowena Flack's two kids Tara, 9 and Saxon, 6 suffer from asthma triggered by fire smoke.

IT WAS during a bushfire that Rowena Flack of Frenchs Forest first noticed smoke was a trigger for her two children’s asthma.

“There were fires nearby last year and straight away it was clear they were having trouble breathing,” Ms Flack said.

“I had to keep them inside with the windows down, and they were still coughing and wheezing.”

Her children Tara, 9, and Saxon, 6, now take preventive medicine in winter when smoke from home fireplaces can hang in the air.

“If you can smell it in the air, we need to be careful,” Ms Flack said.

For her, the Asthma Foundation was a vital resource in helping to understand her children’s asthma.

“My husband’s side of the family had asthma, and when he passed away, I didn’t know anything about asthma – it was frightening,” Ms Flack said.

“When I called the Asthma Foundation, they had information about wood smoke and showed me how to do things like arrange a school plan with their teachers. It was a lifeline for me.”

Wood smoke causes problems across the northern beaches, as smoke becomes trapped under a cold layer of air close to the ground rather than being dispersed or blown away.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslo ... 6647511aa9
• 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!
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