Fireplace Use During Burn Bans Is Not Only Illegal,

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Fireplace Use During Burn Bans Is Not Only Illegal,

Postby Wilberforce » Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:23 pm

Fireplace Use During Burn Bans Is Not Only Illegal, Smoke Pouring Out Chimneys is Downright Dangerous

Posted on 13 December 2011

By Alan Kandel

Prior to going to work for the Union Pacific Railroad, in Fremont, and retiring as a railroad signalman, in the late ‘70s I was employed by a Bay Area-based manufacturing company that specialized in producing sophisticated electronic measurement or monitoring equipment. This company, I believe, employed about 80 people in all.

At this point you may be saying to yourself “So what?” What’s “so what” is, back in the day, there wasn’t any such thing as indoor smoking bans and at the time of my departure from a company of five full-time employees and one supervisor in the test and tech department only two employees (myself and one other) did not smoke. But if you consider breathing in second-hand smoke smoking, then, in essence, we were all smokers like it or not.

As it turns out, by the time I was nearing the end of my first year of employ there, all that smoked had become chain-smokers, effectively lighting up one cigarette after the next, so I up and quit, but not before making an impassioned plea to my boss to separate me from the smokers, something that would involve relocating my workbench to an area where the air would be far less smoke-filled. Nothing doing. The answer was NO!

The reason I tell this story is because once again, smoke is the focus of my attention and hence this discussion. Only this time, the unpleasant, odoriferous emission comes not from the mouths of smokers and lit cigarette ends, but from smoking chimneys.

While it was possible for me to physically remove myself from those tobacco-smoke-filled surroundings, I cannot escape the pervasive pall of wood-smoke - outside of remaining indoors - that blankets the air in my community this time of year. But that is sidestepping the point.

In the Central San Joaquin Valley, especially right now, there is a fireplace burning ban in effect due to poor area air quality. So much for violators following the rules.

In fact, in “Dirty air triggers Valleywide ban on burning”, Fresno Bee environmental reporter Mark Grossi wrote, “The air this week was filled with soot and tiny specks, triggering a wood-burning ban Friday for all eight Valley counties from Stockton to Bakersfield.” You would never know a ban was in effect. What part of “Wood Burning Prohibited!” do these violators not understand?”

“A burning ban makes it illegal to ignite wood, pellets and manufactured fire logs in fireplaces and other devices, such as wood-burning stoves, according to the [San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control D]istrict,” Grossi wrote. “And Valley residents should refrain from burning wood during district-ordered bans, officials said.”

Seems simple enough, but my sense of smell tells me otherwise.

I guess it isn’t enough to tell people “Fine particle pollution is linked to early mortality, asthma and heart ailments,” as Grossi put it. It could just be that blunt, in-your-face warnings such as this aren’t enough to grab the law breakers’ attention. If I had my way, I would make sure that all those who succumbed to particle pollution had their names and faces on public display perhaps on electronic billboards at highly trafficked intersections so that passers by would be reminded of what the unintended consequences are of excessive concentrations of wood-smoke in the air over long periods of time.

Maybe this approach is a bit too harsh but then again maybe people would get the message and, if this is the case, it might just serve as an effective deterrent. I think far worse than that is if over time more and more people suffer the effects of this pollution in chronic fashion, had the earlier opportunity to do something about it and didn’t or chose not to.

Taking another approach, in light of a lack of universal, comprehensive compliance, another solution, maybe for all those who do comply, they could be rewarded for doing what’s right. In other words, we should be rewarding (and incentivizing) law-abiders that comply with corresponding laws. This too could be effective.

Why do I propose these types of solutions? Because the in-place punitive measures apparently are having little if any effect, if those applicable laws are even enforced at all. At any rate, I’m sure someone somewhere in the Valley has the smarts to come up with an effective mitigating plan that would work, something everyone who is affected by wood-smoke inhalation could live with. At any rate, it’s time to nip this in the bud.

If nothing changes and burning during bans continues, then all affected people lose out, including the one’s doing the wood burning. That’s the reality.


Alan Kandel is a concerned California resident advocating for new, improved and expanded freight (and passenger) rail service. He is a retired railroad signalman previously employed by the Union Pacific Railroad in Fremont, California.

source ... -dangerous
• 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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