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Hazards and Effects on Respiratory Health of Backyard Burning

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1 Hazards and Effects on Respiratory Health of Backyard Burning
Theodore W. Marcy, MD MPH Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine University of Vermont College of Medicine American Lung Association of Vermont

2 Outline of Discussion Lung function, anatomy and inhaled toxins
Characteristics of the emissions from backyard burning of trash Contents Quantity compared to other emissions Health Hazards In normals In vulnerable populations

3 Function of the Respiratory System
Gas exchange Eliminate CO2 Transfer Oxygen to blood To accomplish this Gas exchange organ (lung) Respiratory pump to move air in and out

4 Anatomy of the Lung and Alveoli Location of Gas Exchange

5 Interaction of Lung with Environment
Volume of air we breath per day = 10,000 Liters Surface area of lung = Squash court Lung defense Filtering by nose and upper airway Impact of particles at branching airways Particles removed by mucociliary escalator and swallowed or coughed out Other foreign particles cleared by resident cells of the defense system (macrophages)

6 What Particles Get to the Alveoli?
Particles of most importance are less than 10 microns in diameter (RBC is 5 microns) PM10

7 Air Pollution and Health
An increase in PM10 by 10 g/m3 associated with a 0.5% increase in death rate from all causes An increase in PM10 by 10 g /m3 associated with an 8-18% increase in cardiovascular causes of death Ban on coal sales in Dublin associated with a Decrease in air pollution 6% decrease in non-trauma death rates 10% decrease in cardiovascular death rates 16% decrease in respiratory death rates

8 Wood Burning Campfires Woodstoves for home heating
Incineration of cleared brush and trees

9 Wood Burning Burning 20 lbs of wood puts 1 lb of pollution in the air
100 different chemicals Carbon monoxide Nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons Large amount of PM10 particulates Pollution from 1 home heated by wood for 1yr equals 400 homes heated by oil or natural gas 1 car driving 130,000 miles

10 Backyard Burning Used as low cost method of trash disposal
Trash is NOT just wood, paper and yard waste Trash consists of plastics, synthetics, other chemicals Low temperature burning (500) leads to incomplete combustion Emissions highly concentrated and “in your face”

11 Emissions from Backyard Burning
Fine particulate matter Carbon monoxide Carbon dioxide Sulfur dioxide Dioxins and Furans PAHs and PCBs Lead Arsenic Mercury Barium Chromium Cadmium

12 Comments on Some Emissions
Carbon monoxide Binds to hemoglobin, reducing oxygen delivery Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) Contribute to ground level ozone pollution (smog) Aggravate respiratory and heart conditions Some (PAHs) are carcinogenic Hexachlorobenzene Birth defects Kidney and liver damage Benzopyrene Suspected cause of lung cancer

13 Health Consequences Upper airway irritation
Neurologic symptoms (headache, fatigue) Acute respiratory symptoms (shortness of breath Asthma and chronic lung disease exacerbations Acute cardiac events Cancers (long term exposures) Hospitalizations Increased deaths

14 Emissions from burn barrels in the US (lbs./year)
benzene 4,500,000 styrene 3,400,000 formaldehyde 3,100,000 dioxins furans PCB ,962 hydrogen cyanide 1,700,000 arsenic ,186

15 Municipal Waste Combustor (MWC) vs Barrel Burning
2,200 F  F

16 EPA Evaluation of Emissions from Barrel Burning: Lemieux EPA 1998
Purpose: Risk assessment Qualitative identification and quantitative measure of emissions from open burning of household refuse Comparison to other point and area sources Waste from non-recycling and avid recycling households Burned in test facility Extractive samples analyzed Compared to emissions from MWC field test

17 Household Burning vs MWC
Household family of 4 Non-recycling 4.9 kg/day 62% paper products 8% plastic resin Avid-recycling 1.5 kg/day 62% paperboard 16% plastic resin MWC 182,000 kg/day 37,000 non-recycling households or 121,000 recycling households

18 Emissions per Mass of Refuse MWC vs Open Burning

19 How many barrel burning homes equals the pollution from a MWC?
Daily MWC estimated emission Daily estimated emissions from households = #households that equal a MWC Lemieux EPA March 1998

20 Vulnerable Populations
Asthma in Vermont 41,000 adults 13,000 children Chronic lung disease 7,000 with emphysema 26,000 with chronic bronchitis Children Absorb more toxins per weight than adults Second hand smoke increases respiratory tract infections, asthma, sudden infant death syndrome

21 Vermont State Regulations on Open Burning
Allowed (if not prohibited by local ordinances) Campfires and outdoor barbecues Burning of leaves, brush, deadwood, tree cuttings Natural wood bonfires on festive occasions Illegal to burn Paper and cardboard Tires and other rubber products Treated, painted, or finished wood Tarpaper or asphalt shingles Plastics Garbage

22 Backyard Burning in Vermont
18,000 households 28 million pounds of trash annually The Herald of Randolph, VT 11/30/00

23 Opinions Regarding Burn Barrels
28% burn household garbage and other materials (in burn barrel or other device) Of those that burn household garbage 45% burn garbage because it is convenient 32% believe they are reducing waste 35% said that nothing would cause them to stop this practice 34% (ironically) believe there is not enough concern about the environment Survey in Minnesota and Wisconsin From ALA of Wisconsin

24 Alternatives to Backyard Burning
Recycle Newspaper Used oil Plastic bottles Magazines Cans Glass Cardboard Office paper Compost Yard wastes Vegetable Scraps Reuse Clothes Donate to charity Buy smart Avoid unnecessary packing

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