I See Smoke Releases Our First Wood Smoke Action Guide

By: Mollie Simon

WoWood smoke neighbor guide coverod smoke pollution is a problem facing residential communities across the country. But sometimes our concerns about a possible confrontation prevent us from taking that first step to initiate a conversation with a neighbor whose smoke is affecting us. Clean Air Council’s I See Smoke program was asked by residents to create a guide to help those impacted by wood smoke through the process of talking to our neighbors and illustrate how to take next steps if the problem continues.

You can view the guide here. Included in the guide are tips on how to begin the conversation, guidelines for how to approach your neighbor, information on how to take action when discussion isn’t working, fact sheets, and more.

 

Here are some of the biggest take aways:

  • Make a connection to your neighbor before bringing up the problem. People are much more likely to listen to a friend than an aloof neighbor. Even though you may be angry, try to put that aside and start the conversation off on a positive note.
  • Share your personal story—it may not have even crossed your neighbors mind that this is a big problem for you. Calmly explain how wood smoke is impacting your family’s health.
  • Have the facts and share them. Wood smoke pollution is not a well-known danger. By sharing the I See Smoke fact sheets, you can help illustrate some of the biggest negative health impacts of burning wood.
  • Be empathetic. Just as you want your neighbor to understand your perspective on wood smoke; it is important to take the time to listen to their concerns. We know that low costs or convenience should not trump health and safety, but it is important to know that wood burning could be seen by the neighbor as cost-effective option.

Starting the conversation is not always easy but sometimes taking time to sit down and calmly explain the problem to your neighbor can have a big difference. If you are dealing with a wood burning neighbor and need assistance, please feel free to reach out to I See Smoke PA.

Connect with us!

Website: ISeeSmokePA.org
Mapping app: wikimapping.net/wikimap/smoke.html
Facebook: Facebook.com/ISeeSmokePA
Twitter: @ISeeSmokePA
Email: Mollie Simon at msimon@cleanair.org
Phone: 215-567-4004 ext: 128

New Study Shows Wood Burning Regulation Significantly Improves Public Health

May 15th, 2015
By: Mollie Simon

Last month, scientists from California released a report detailing the effects of wood burning regulation on public health in the San Joaquin Air Basin. Their findings confirm that regulations to limit or stop wood-burning save lives and make for healthier lungs.

Stacked_woodwikipedia

Source: wikipedia.org

In particular, this study looked at something called Rule 4901, a regulation first adopted in 1992 and amended in 2003, which aimed to reduce emissions of carbon monoxide and particulates from residential wood burning fireplaces and heaters during the burn season (November- February). This was accomplished by establishing no-burn days when air quality in the region was too poor. It also required the switch out of older burning units for EPA-certified cleaner burners. Furthermore, the rule established a public health education program to help spread the word about the health dangers of wood smoke.

And the rules worked. The study showed that after implementation, they observed reductions of 12%, 11%, and 15% in particulate matter 2.5 micrometers in diameter or smaller (PM2.5), and 8%, 7%, and 11% in coarse particles, in the entire San Joaquin Air Basin and in rural and urban regions of the air basin, respectively. Among those aged 65 years and older, the rule was estimated to prevent 7%, 8%, and 5% of cardio-vascular disease cases, and 16%, 17%, and 13% of Ischemic heart disease cases, in the entire San Joaquin Air Basin and in rural and urban regions, respectively.

Smoke-from-Chimney-at-Winter-Mountain__27381-480x320publicphoto.org

Source: publicphoto.org

 

This study confirms what common sense tells us is true. Limiting wood smoke emissions in a neighborhood or air basin can have a significantly positive impact on public health. Less particulate matter pollution means less heart and lung disease and healthier people.

This is why it is so important to fight for wood burning bans or limitations. This study shows that limiting wood burning helps protect members of the community. For more information about how to propose wood burning regulations in your neighborhood, please visit our action page.