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Fall Away From Wood Burning

October 15th, 2015
By: Mollie Simon

The nights are getting cooler, we’re making the switch from shorts to pants, and we are starting to remember our jackets before we leave the house. But unfortunately, with the beautiful colors of fall landscapes also comes read more buttondangerous wood smoke pollution for many neighborhoods across the state. How do you prepare yourself for the start of a long winter with wood burning nearby?


 

I See Smoke Releases Our First Wood Smoke Action Guide

May 29th, 2015
By: Mollie Simon

Wood 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, guread more buttonidelines for how to approach your neighbor, information on how to take action when discussion isn’t working, fact sheets, and more.


New Study Shows Woof Burning Regulation Signifigantly 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.

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 bread more buttonurners. Furthermore, the rule established a public health education program to help spread the word about the health dangers of wood smoke.


EPA Air Standards for Wood Burners: Steps in the Right Direction But Not Enough

February 27th, 2015
By: Mollie Simon

Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) updated their standards on outdoor wood-fired burners for the first time in 27 years. These updates are well overdue and will make new wood burners on the market cleaner and safer, while also allowing consumers to save energy and cut costs. Although these new regulations will make significant improvements, they do not go far enough for communities and neighborhoods already plagued with wood smoke pollution.

The science clearly shows that wood smoke pollution is dangerous to public health. Wood heaters and furnaces account for 13% of nationwide soot pollution. Particulate matter poisons our lungs and bodies. Biomass such as wood, when burned, gives off large amounts of carbon, nread more buttonitrogen, and sulfur oxides, in addition to volatile organic compounds.  All this pollution causes health complications like asthma, heart disease and other respiratory illnesses.


Don’t Get Smoked-In this Holiday Season

December 9th, 2014
By: Mollie Simon

The holiday season is here and we know what that means: lots of festive lights, cookies, snow and family. This is also the season that fireplaces and stoves across the country will be used for heat and for ambiance. More than 27 million homes in the U.S. have a fireplace and nearly 9.3 million have wood-burning stoves.  As enjoyable as a glowing fire may seem, burning wood releases harmful air toxics directly into your home.

There is a warm feeling associated with a family sitting around the hearth in the cold winter months. While these wood fireplaces may be cozy, they are not healthy. Wood smoke contains dozens of nasty pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, hazardous metals, and known carcinogens such as formaldehyde, dioxin, benzene, and toluene. These are many of the same dangerous chemicals found in cigarette smoke. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency read more buttonestimates that breathing wood smoke particles during high pollution days is equivalent to smoking 4 to 16 cigarettes.


 

Allegheny County Takes the First Steps towards Banning Opening Burning

November 10th, 2014
By: Mollie Simon

On Wednesday night, Allegheny County passed regulations that place limits on opening burning within the county. The Council voted 9-4 in favor of regulations that would limit outdoor fires to burning only clean wood, propane, natural gas,
charcoal, fire logs, wood pellets and smokeless fire starters. Fires also must now be at least 15 feet from the nearest property line. It’s a step in the right direction, but we need more.

The Clean Air Council and other environmental groups advocated for a ban on open burning. A recent report byEnvironment and Human Health Inc. (EHHI) showed that homes nearly three football fields away (850 ft.) from a wood read more buttonburning units had six times the level of particulates as control homes. While it is important to have regulations on burning and wood smoke pollution, a ban is the only measure that guarantees that highest level of protection for community members.


 

The I See Smoke App is here! Report smoke pollution with this easy tool

October 29th, 2014
By: Mollie Simon

For those affected by wood smoke pollution, the Clean Air Council’s I See Smoke program has rolled out a new tool that makes reporting violations and taking action easy. The new I See Smoke map allows users to find their location and share information and photos of the smoke pollution in their neighborhood.

By using the app, community members fill out information about the pollution they see. That information then gets read more buttonpassed on to the Clean Air Council, the PA Department of Environmental Protection, and all appropriate county health agencies. This streamlines the reporting process and makes sure that all violations are being reported to the agencies that oversee air quality enforcement.


New Report Shows Most Polluting Biomass Facilities in Pennsylvania

October 24th, 2014
By: Mollie Simon

How close to do you live to a dangerous biomass facility? A new report and database released by the Partnership for Public Integrity this week shows the 100 most polluting biomass facilities in Pennsylvania.

This database is an excellent resource and gives a strong picture of the biomass industry in Pennsylvania. By making read more buttoninformation available to the public, it allows affected community members to get involved with air quality issues that impact their neighborhood.


 

New Report Shows Wood Furnaces Pose a Threat to Community Health

October 10th, 2014
By: Mollie Simon

This week Environment and Human Heath Inc. (EHHI) published the first peer-reviewed article focused on the dangers of wood smoke emissions and wood burning devices. And the results were conclusive: wood smoke is a serious threat to public health. Wood smoke contributes to air pollution which can cause asthma, affect lung function, and cause cardiac arrhythmias and acute heart attacks.

“Wood smoke particles are particularly dangerous because they are small and thus are inhaled deeply into the lungs. The wood smoke particles contain many of the same harmful compounds found in cigarette smoke, and they are carcinogenic”read more button

– Nancy Alderman, President of Environment and Human Health, Inc. 

 


Why the Open Burn Regulations in Allegheny County Matter

October 7th, 2014
By: Mollie Simon

Wood burning issues are making news in Allegheny county. The County Council will vote in the coming weeks on revised open burning regulations proposed by the Allegheny County Department of Health. When you think of air pollutants, wood smoke may not be top of mind, but in Allegheny County, over a third of all health complaints about air quality were related to wood burning.

The toxicity level of wood smoke is often compared to that of cigarette smoking. Burning wood or biomass gives off high amounts of carbon, nitrogen, sulfuric oxides, volatile organic compounds and particulate matter. These pollutants cause a whole host of problems from respiratory and asthma illnesses to a greater risk of heart complications. We would never read more buttonwant to expose a child to the dangers of second hand cigarette smoke, and the same logic should apply to the dangers of wood smoke pollution.

 

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