Expert keen to smoke out the truth

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

Expert keen to smoke out the truth

Postby Wilberforce » Wed Apr 22, 2015 8:35 am

Wood-smoke pollution in the Derwent Valley. An air-quality expert says nearly every Tasmanian rural town that is located
in a valley will have a winter wood-smoke problem.

Expert keen to smoke out the truth

April 23, 2015 12:00AM

AN air-quality expert holds grave fears for Tasmania’s rural populations, where wood-burning rates are higher than cities and where towns are often located in smoke-trapping valleys.

Fay Johnston is a clinical doctor whose time in Darwin studying the effects of the regular savanna burn-offs led her to Tasmania and to the public health effects of wood heaters.

Dr Johnston said while the state’s bigger cities had largely cleaned up their air-quality act when it comes to winter wood smoke, towns were still at risk.

The Menzies Institute senior research fellow will tonight present a public talk on the current threat level – titled Fire, Smoke and Your Health – at the Institute’s Liverpool St headquarters.

“My main point is that if you light a fire, you are making smoke and need to be responsible for that ... a badly operated wood heater can put out as much particle emissions in an hour as commuting 20km to work every day for a year,” Dr Johnston said.

“Launceston and Hobart have improved enormously, and are close to being compliant with air-quality standards.

“But nearly any Tasmanian rural town that is located in a valley will have a winter wood-smoke problem.

“In the cities one in four homes might heat with wood. In country towns it’s nearly half because it’s available.

“Little valleys tend to pull smoke, and with more people using wood you tend to get exceedences on many days during winter.”

She said while smoke from landscape fires – including the planned burns program currently under way – had an impact, by far the biggest culprit for environmental smoke was the wood heater.

“You can reduce the smoke by an order of magnitude simply by burning an efficient flame, and by not loading the heater full of wood and shutting the flue at night — which is about the worst thing you can do,” Dr Johnston said.

“It’s only about one in five wood heater owners who put most of the pollution into the air, because an awful lot of people operate quite well.

“If you are going to run your wood heater overnight, load it up, wait 15 minutes while you brush your teeth, then shut the flue if you have to.”

To register for Dr Johnston’s talk, which will be followed by fellow Menzies researcher Dr Kristen Hynes’ address on iodine deficiency in Tasmania among pregnant and breastfeeding women, visit or phone 6226 7700.

Refreshments start at 5.30pm, followed by talks and questions from 6-7pm.

source ... 7316008136
• 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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