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Wood smoke: The other secondhand smoke

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Presentation on theme: "Wood smoke: The other secondhand smoke"— Presentation transcript:

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2 Wood smoke: The other secondhand smoke
Smoking has been banned in bars and restaurants but … we are all “smoking” involuntarily on our own property and in public spaces due to wood smoke pollution.

3 Wood smoke: A major source of fine particle pollution in Minnesota
Residential burning is one of the largest sources of fine particle pollution in the metro and state-wide, according to an internal PCA Whitepaper Report. Wherever wood is burned, air quality near the source far exceeds safety standards.

4 Wood smoke: A severe health hazard
“Particle Pollution is the most important contaminate in our air – we know that when levels go up, people die.” Joel Schwartz, Ph.D. Harvard School of Public Health E Magazine, Sept/Oct

5 Wood smoke: Why is it so dangerous?
Wood smoke’s fine particles are too small to be filtered by our lungs They collect in the tiny sacs where oxygen enters the bloodstream They cause structural and chemical changes deep within our lungs

6 Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5)
Fine particulate matter is a complex mixture of very small liquid droplets or solid particles in the air. Major sources are cars, trucks, construction equipment, coal-fired power plants, wood burning, vegetation and livestock. These particles can be directly released when coal, gasoline, diesel fuels and wood are burned. Source:

7 PM2.5 Harms Health Fine particulates are associated with increased hospitalizations and deaths due to respiratory and heart disease and can worsen the symptoms of asthma. People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children are the groups most at risk. Source:

8 Everyone is at risk from wood smoke exposure
30 % of Minneapolis children have asthma Asthma is the #1 reason for school absenteeism Millions of Americans have impaired lung function including emphysema and COPD. Wood smoke is implicated in premature death in people of all ages. m

9 Asthma statistics Asthma is one of this country's most common and costly diseases. - the annual cost of asthma is nearly $18 billion. Every day in America: 40,000 people miss school or work due to asthma. 30,000 people have an asthma attack. 5,000 people visit the emergency room due to asthma. 1,000 people are admitted to the hospital due to asthma. 11 people per day and thousands per year die of asthma attacks Asthma accounts for one-quarter of all emergency room visits in the US each year, with 2 million emergency room visits. Annually, asthma accounts for more than 10 million outpatient visits and 500,000 hospitalizations. Source – Asthma and Allergy Foundation:

10 Smoke from backyard fires can…
Irritate eyes, lungs, throat and sinuses Reduce lung function, especially in young children and is implicated in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) Increase severity of existing lung diseases such as asthma, emphysema, pneumonia and bronchitis Increase risks of heart attacks and strokes *Source:

11 Wood Smoke violates property rights
Deprives taxpayers of the right to breathe clean air on their property, and even in their homes. According to the California Air Resources Board, up to 70% of smoke from chimneys can re-enter neighboring residences, exposing neighbors to toxic smoke.

12 Wood smoke violates the ADA
The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Requires cities to provide “access” to public spaces, including streets, parks and sidewalks, to all people including those with disabilities, such as asthma. Wood smoke presents a “physical barrier” that restricts the activities of many people.

13 Wood Smoke and public events
Food vendors at festivals, art shows and the MN State Fair are increasingly using wood grills which heavily pollute the surrounding area Wood grilling restaurants are also increasing in number and pollute neighborhoods Wood grilling creates heavy pollution which harms everyone’s health At risk groups must avoid these areas which excludes them from being able to use public places Minnehaha Falls, Labor Day 2011 Bluegrass Festival Food Vendors

14 Fine particulates in wood smoke are so miniscule that windows and doors cannot adequately keep them out of your house. 70% of the small particles from outside get into the house. Even homes with modern air exchangers may not prevent the assault of wood smoke indoors.

15 Wood smoke’s black carbon soot contributes to Global Warming
Al Gore calls on world to burn less wood and fuel to curb ‘black carbon’ Guardian.co.uk, Tuesday, April 28, 2009 Black carbon soot from auto and truck engines, aircraft emissions, burning forests and the use of wood- and coal-burning stoves is implicated in the melting of ice in polar and mountain regions and is also suspected of interfering in the seeding of clouds for rain.

16 Wood smoke vs. tobacco smoke
Wood smoke and cigarette smoke contain many of the same carcinogenic components; i.e., benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, lead, and mercury. Wood smoke is far more concentrated and travels farther than cigarette smoke, remaining chemically active in the body up to 40 hours longer than cigarette smoke.

17 The facts are clear… Air pollution alters health
Air pollution disproportionately affects children Air pollution exacerbates pulmonary and cardiovascular disease Air pollution may be a causative factor in pulmonary and cardiac disease Altering air pollution improves health Paul T. Kubic, M.D. Children’s Respiratory & Critical Care Specialists, P.A.

18 Wood smoke: a recognized contributor to air pollution
2010 Statistics: 17 Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 142 Moderately Unhealthy Days

19 League of Women Voters’ Minneapolis Air Quality Forum March 2011
LWV Forum recognized wood smoke as a major contributor to air pollution in the metro Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) presented slides at the Air Quality Forum Slides that follow are from Lisa Herschberger, MPCA

20 State of Minnesota 41% of the Direct PM2.5 Emissions (17,056 tons) are from Residential Wood Combustion Graph Source:

21 Twin Cities Metro Area 30% of the Direct PM2.5 Emissions (2,757 tons ) are from Residential Wood Combustion – Restaurants contribute 6% Graph Source:

22 Wood Burning 45% of the state Wood Burning “Facilities” are in the Metro Area The Metro Area is a small portion of the overall State of Minnesota

23 About 1/3 of Metro Residential Wood Combustion is from
Recreational Outdoor Burning = 857 tons of PM 2.5 Graph Source:

24 Graph Source:

25 Residential Wood Burning is a major source of the carcinogen Benzo(a)pyrene
“Benzo(a)pyrene is one PAH which has been studied extensively. This PAH is considered a potent carcinogen, meaning low doses may cause cancer. The toxicities of other, less potent, PAHs are commonly evaluated relative to benzo(a)pyrene “* *http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/children/chemicals.html Graph Source:

26 Gas is the Greener Choice
Graph Source:

27 What can Minneapolis do?
EDUCATE - Initiate an immediate educational campaign on the hazards of wood smoke Educational notices with water bills Sound bite on 311 calls Include wood smoke hazards with cigarette smoke curriculum in schools

28 What else can Minneapolis do?
Eliminate outdoor recreational fires in Minneapolis Eliminate recreational burning at public parks, just as cigarette smoke is restricted Ban Outdoor Wood Boilers (OWBs), as other suburbs have done Disallow mobile sources of wood burning, such as traveling barbecued rib vendors Place a moratorium on wood burning restaurants

29 Wood burning reduction future goals
Incentivize wood burning fireplace change- outs to gas or electric only Change out existing wood grills in restaurants to gas or electric only Require that new home builders and remodelers install only gas or electric fireplaces


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