Could woodburners be a threat to our health?

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Could woodburners be a threat to our health?

Postby Wilberforce » Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:06 pm

Could woodburners be a threat to our health?

Burning wood has been linked to a wide variety of health problems - but industry says open fires are the problem

Bill Gleeson
Echo Reporter
17:50, 30 OCT 2017

We are all becoming increasingly used to the smell of wood smoke in our cities during the colder months .

It’s little surprise when you consider that 1.5m homes up and down the country have had wood burners installed over the past eight years.

Wood burners look pretty, bring a warm glow to the living room and are a relatively cheap way of staying snug in winter. Many householders use them as an alternative to smokeless fuels.

However, despite their attractions, one expert is warning that they could be bad for human health .

Burning wood emits large amounts of a tiny particle known as a PM2.5, which is linked to a wide variety of health problems, including asthma, heart attacks and strokes. The expert warned that the growing use of wood as a domestic fuel risks undermining improvements made to air quality in the decades since smoke control zones were first introduced into Britain’s urban areas, including Liverpool.

While wood smoke is not the only source of PM2.5 emissions, it is a major contributory factor to the estimated 25,000 premature deaths in England every year attributed to the particulate.

Gary Fuller, an air pollution scientist at Kings College London, told the ECHO: “Wood burning is a greater source of particles than diesel vehicles.”

Just 17 years ago at the turn of the millennium, emissions from wood burning were untraceably low in Britain.

Dr Fuller said: “We know that current levels of particle pollution in the UK is shortening people’s lives.”

He said wood burners don’t create significant amounts of particle pollution inside houses that have them installed. That’s because the smoke is drawn up the chimney, but that does mean it poses a problem for the surrounding neighbourhood.

Dr Fuller added: “Outdoor pollution concentrations are the main point of exposure for most people.

“Pollution concentrations rise sharply on still, winter nights when they all light their wood burners and it happens in residential areas at the time when everybody is at home.

“I would ask people to think of their neighbours. I question whether wood burning is an appropriate source of heating in a 21st century city because of the impact it has in densely populated neighbourhoods.

“Exposure to modern particle pollution shortens people’s lives for all sorts of reasons, not just lung disease. When air pollution goes up we see people dying from all sorts of things, including heart attacks and strokes. That’s why it seems invisible to us - because they are dying of the sorts of things they are dying of anyway, just earlier.”

Referring to recent remarks by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who called for a ban on wood burners throughout the capital, Dr Fuller said: “Liverpool should be encouraging people to think about the impact of wood burning on friends and neighbours.”

The Stove Industry Alliance (SIA) accepts that wood smoke poses a health risk, but it insists that the principal source of PM2.5 emissions comes from burning wood on open fires, not stoves, and that its members’ fireplace products are part of the solution to the problem.

SIA Spokesperson Dennis Milligan, told the ECHO: “Emissions from wood burning are going down even though stove sales are going up. People are using them as a replacement for open fires and older stoves.

“In Liverpool, 60% of wood burning is from open fires. That is in contravention of the Clean Air act. In Liverpool, wood should only be burnt in DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) exempt stoves.”

He says the latest generation of stoves coming to the market already meet new emission limits due to come into force in 2022.

He added: “We have released onto the market stoves that will emit at this lower level. They offer a 90% reduction in emissions compared to an open fire. The new Ecodesign Ready Stoves will make a significant difference to emission levels in cities.

“We are asking for a scrappage scheme that will allow homeowners to upgrade from open fires to Ecodesign Ready Stoves. We have a proposal with DEFRA at the moment.”

source ... h-13833570
• 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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