Letter by Cathy Baiton, printed in the Sonoma County Gazette (sonomacountygazette.com) Letters, November 2015
Laboratory results of wood burning appliances are nothing like real-world emissions. Wood stoves also deteriorate and become less effective with use and over time. When two or more new wood stoves or pellet stoves are used in a neighbourhood or community, that toxic pollution is multiplied.
For the same reasons that make cigarette smoking bans essential, wood burning must be banned in residential areas, where no amount of wood smoke is acceptable.
Programs that condone the continued purchase and installation of wood burning devices fail to place public health and environmental protection above the financial interests of the wood burning industry – as represented by the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association, which for far too long has placed profit above people. Many people have continued to suffer greatly from toxic emissions of EPA certified stoves and other wood burning appliances in their neighbourhoods.
The wood burning industry’s business interests should not come before clean air and public health protection – which depends upon residential wood burning bans.
It is time to stop condoning the burning of wood in any urban area, where cleaner and healthier alternatives to wood burning are available. In addition to clean burning natural gas, propane, electricity, solar panels and heat pumps are available – and wood burning appliances should not be condoned in any way, by any government department or health organization, for residential use.
The continued use and installation of new wood burning appliances are in no way an answer to the problem of wood smoke pollution. They create smoke pollution, and they are part of the problem.
Please promote an end to all residential wood burning, both indoor and outdoor, in order to help preserve and protect the highest standard of clean air attainable, for better public health.