Friday , September 30 2022

Wood chimneys could damage your health – even if you do not


Wood chimneys emit six times more pollution than a diesel truck and can damage your health even if you do not.

Far from the effective and green picture that most people have of wooden chimneys, comfortable heaters choke the British atmosphere and release invisible smoke in our homes.

This is the argument of scientist Dr. Gary Fuller, writing in Mail on Sunday before the publication of his new book "The Invisible Killer: The growing global threat of atmospheric pollution – and how we can fight".

Dr. Fuller says that only one of the latest "green" wood burning hearths that meet all European tests can produce about six times more particle pollution than a modern diesel or 18 times more than a modern diesel car.

Air pollution caused 29,500 premature deaths in Britain in 2010

"Even worse, they release their fumes in residential areas and in times when people are likely to be home," he said.

The "modern threat of burning urban woods" was first identified in Paris in 2005 when the new doctoral student Oliver Favez measured air pollution in a city park and noticed a pattern that could not be linked to diesel fumes. His organs recorded a chemical signature found in the Alpine valleys, where wood burning has a major impact on air pollution.

Favez continued his measurements for five weeks and concluded that every evening – especially on weekends – the air was contaminated by wood burning, and smoke added between 10 and 20 percent of the pollution of the city's particles.

In 2010, Dr. Fuller and his research team from King's College London put 20-mile sampling devices across London and found that wood burning was 10% of the particle contamination that the Londoners breathed winter.

The extra particle pollution from wood burning was six times greater than the particle pollution that saved the low-emission zone.

Dr Fuller said politicians are not interested in the issue until 2015, when a government inquiry revealed that about one home in the 12 in the UK burns wood. It produces 2.6 times more hazardous pollutants than the exhaust gases.

Today in the UK there are 1.5 million stoves and about 200,000 are added to this set every year.

By 2022, stoves sold in Europe should meet ecodesign standards that set limits on the volume of tobacco they can produce. But Dr. Fuller warned that the stoves were tested in idealized conditions – for example using just dry wood burned for an hour – so the results from the laboratory tests were different from the results produced by the same stoves when tested in a home, are as high as 16 times.

The amount of pollution generated by the stoves can vary depending on various factors, such as whether the wood is dry or damp, shutting down the air vents on the stove and the ability of the fire lighted person.

Wood burning boilers can produce six times more particle pollution than a modern truck diesel, or 18 times more than a modern diesel

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An air test conducted in New Zealand, in Wainuiomata, near Wellington, has produced alarming results. The city's air was full of wood smoke throughout the winter, but the smoke contained a male 50 percent higher than the legal limit in Europe.

The researchers concluded that people burned construction timber, which is treated with a preservative known as chromate copper. Processed wood is burned all over the world. Male and pencil were found in the air of the suburbs of Athens, indicating that people were burning construction waste and old painted wood.

Dr Fuller said particle pollution caused 29,500 premature deaths in the UK in 2010 and a brief period of high air pollution in March and April 2014 caused about 1,650 "excesses" or additional deaths.

He also warned that wood smoke changes over time as gases and particles in the smoke react to create even more pollution particles. In some experiments, the concentration of particulate matter in smoke increased by about 60% as the hours passed. In others, it tripled,

However, in areas where wood burning has been removed or reduced, the number of elderly admitted to the hospital decreased by 11% and the winter mortality rates decreased by a similar amount.

Dr. Fuller said: "There is a great deal of injustice. Smoke from a small number of wood-burning homes – often lifestyle choices – can infect the entire neighborhood or even the entire city.

"Changing eternal attitude and habits will not be easy – who does not love a fire?

"As hot, warm and no doubt elegant make us feel, we must question the place of wood fires in towns and cities.

"We need to take action and urgently – lives are at risk".

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