New furnaces, new requirements

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New furnaces, new requirements

Postby Wilberforce » Thu Mar 12, 2015 2:58 pm

Editorial: New furnaces, new requirements

Posted: Thursday, March 12, 2015 2:00 am

Imagine a cool spring Sunday morning, and you're sitting in your living room reading the newspaper. It's warm enough to open the windows a crack, but cool enough to need a little heat on.

Suddenly, smoke from a neighbor's outdoor wood-burning furnace creeps into your living room, and there's not much you can do about it but cough.

That's the situation the federal Environmental Protection Agency is trying to relieve by putting tighter restrictions on the use of fireplaces and wood-burning furnaces.

Some states are balking and have passed legislation refusing to enforce the new EPA standards.

It's easy to understand the resistance to the stricter controls. People have been burning wood for heat since the discovery of fire. Wood is cheap, accessible and renewable — all qualities not shared by petroleum.

We, as communities, have long sympathized with our needier neighbors as they try to manage the expense of heating their homes in severe winter conditions.

But let's be honest — wood smoke is not only unpleasant in our living rooms, it's a proven, significant health hazard.

That's why a number of North Country municipalities have already instituted restrictions on placement of outdoor wood-burning devices.

But even when wood is burned far from helpless neighbors, it still gives off emissions that are not good for the environment.

So the EPA plans to require that new furnaces to be more efficient than previous generations of equipment.

The new models are supposed to reduce particle emissions by 70 percent. That's a significant step in the right direction, as far as the EPA is concerned, because about 10 percent of U.S. households now burn wood. And the number is climbing.

According to an Associated Press report that we ran in Monday's edition, the number of homes relying on wood as their primary heat source increased by a third between 2005 and 2012, the last year for which figures were available.

The EPA relies on states for enforcement of its regulations. But a number of states are refusing to go along with the new restrictions, including Missouri, Michigan and Virginia. Several other states are likely to follow.

These states are tilting more heavily in the direction of the poor who need inexpensive heat than their neighbors who may be suffering from the effects. They are concerned that the new regulations may cause manufacturers to increase the price of wood-burning heaters.

As residents of a forested region, we appreciate the practicality of burning wood, but we also believe it is crucial to protect individuals and the environment in which they reside.

The EPA has not ruled that furnaces currently in use must be fine tuned or disposed of; it is only new ones that are at issue.

Bring new wood-burning furnaces into the environment of the 21st century. We'll all be better off for it.

source ... ac175.html
• 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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