Bushfire smoke harms the lungs like cigarette smoke



the presssssssssss

A perfect storm of dry, windless weather and wood smoke has combined to create some of the worst winter air pollution 

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in Sonoma County and the surrounding area in years.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District said it would declare a record 11th straight winter spare-the-air alert Wednesday, making it illegal to burn wood, manufactured fire logs or other solid fuels for the next 24 hours.

Stagnant conditions have trapped fine particulate pollution close to the ground, creating a health hazard for everyone, especially children, the elderly and people with respiratory problems.

“It’s like being in a smoky room where you can’t open the windows,” said Aaron Richardson, a spokesman for the district, which covers a nine-county region. “Nothing is leaving.”

Richardson said the 11th consecutive no-burn day is nearly triple the previous record of four, reached in three previous seasons including last year.

But relief is in sight. Winds are expected to pick up late Wednesday, bringing fresh air from the ocean that will help reduce pollution levels over the next few days.

There’s a slight chance of rain north of the Golden Gate this afternoon but the rest of the week is expected to stay dry, said National Weather Service meteorologist Roger Gass.

“The San Francisco area is set to have one of the driest calendar years on record,” Gass said. “The next seven days look like that record may end up being set.”

Stagnant air conditions could resume early next week, as the winds change direction and blow offshore again, he said.

Air quality officials said it is too soon to tell if the weather will trigger a burn ban on the days before Christmas.

“We’ve had to do it in the past,” Richardson said. “We hope that won’t be the case this year.”

Wood smoke is the single largest source of wintertime pollution. It is comparable to cigarette smoke because it contains carcinogenic substances that are harmful to breathe.


the presssssssssssNo-burn day scheduled for Friday and Saturday

Yes, you guessed it, the Bay Area Air Quality Management district has deemed

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 both Friday and Saturday to be yet another no-burn day — the 20th and 21st such alert since the region’s Winter Spare the Air season began nearly two months ago.

There have been more wood burning bans called this season — which is only half over — than in any year since the Bay Area pollution rule began in late 2008. Air quality district officials blame this winter’s extraordinary dry stagnant cold weather for the record number of no-burn days.

“Winter weather and air pollution go hand in hand,” said Tom Flannigan, a spokesman for the air quality district. “We haven’t seen the rain and wind we usually see that helps us clean out the air.”

When a Spare the Air day is called, it’s illegal for Bay Area residents and businesses to use fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves, outdoor fire pits or any other wood-burning devices. Those who violate the rule will be given the option of taking a wood smoke awareness class, online or by mail, or pay a $100 fine. Second violations will bring a $500 ticket. The penalty with increase from there with subsequent violations.

In Sonoma County, the bay area district boundaries generally include the land south of Windsor.

Flannigan said that pollution from burning wood comprises the largest share of winter pollution in the Bay Area. Wood smoke makes up 38 percent of winter particulate matter, compared to 15 percent for vehicle exhaust, 12 percent for geological sources such as mountain dust and 11 percent for factory combustion, according to the air district website.

The record number of no-burn days has shattered the previous record of 15 during the 2011/2012 season. The Spare the Air season lasts from Nov. 1 to Feb. 28. By comparison, only 4 no-burn alerts were called during the 2010/2011 season. 



the presssssssssssWhat is behind the record number of wood-burning bans?

Dr. Haas van de afdeling allergologie van het ziekenhuis in Santa Rosa, Califormie, 55 mijl ten noorden van San Francisco, legt uit waarom op dagen met luchtvervuiling houtstook in het gebied in en rond San Francisco verboden is.
De boete is de eerste maal: het volgen van een cursus over houtrook (per post of on-liine), of 100 dollar. meer overtredingen leiden tot hogere boetes.
Save the Air dagen kunnen voorkomen tussen 1 november en 28 februari

For local firewood seller Glenn Kantock, the goal of the Bay Area no-burn rule is obvious — to put an end, once and for all, to wood burning. 

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This year, he said, the Spare the Air effort has a powerful conspirator and, no, it’s not PG&E.

“It just so happens that nature is cooperating with them,” said Kantock, the owner of All Seasons Firewood in Santa Rosa.

“This year, at the time that people need to use the wood the most, they can’t use it or are afraid to use it,” Kantock said.

Less than halfway into the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s four-month Winter Spare the Air season, the number of 24-hour wood-burning bans is off the charts, though district officials would not say whether wood-burning violations were up over last year.

Saturday’s no-burn alert marks the 21st, compared to the previous record of 15 during the entire 2011-2012 season. Also, there thus far have been 10 days that the Bay Area’s air quality has exceeded federal safety levels, compared to 13 for the entire 2008-2009 season, which was the first Spare the Air season.

When a Spare the Air day is called, it’s illegal for Bay Area residents and businesses to use fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves, outdoor fire pits or any other wood-burning devices.

Kantock said the record number of no-burn alerts has caused a great deal of frustration among his customers, as well as some of his employees.

“What’s lacking is a clear explanation or definition of why we need Spare the Air days,” he said, adding that some feel there’s “no compassion” toward those who rely on wood heat even though the no-burn rule does exempt those who rely on wood burning as their only source of heat.

Business has been slow this season, Kantock said.

On Friday, David Goins of Healdsburg filled his trailer with a a half-cord, or 64 cubic feet, of firewood from Kantock’s stock. Firewood is the only source of heat in Goins’ Chalk Hill Road farmhouse, which sits just north of the air quality district’s northern boundary, just above Windsor. 


Is Your Health at Risk? Watch Out for Wood Smoke


Houtrook kan longziekten en astma verergeren. Soms leidt het zelfs tot spoedopnames in het ziekenhuis. Het fijnstof gaat door de verdedigingsmuur in de luchtwegen heen en komt direct in het bloed en longen. Dit kan cellen beschadigen en leiden tot longziekten en hartaanvallen. Vooral kinderen zijn in gevaar. Onder de 18 jaar kan blootstelling aan hogere niveaus van houtrook leiden tot verminderde longfunctie en longziekten op latere leeftijd. Voor kinderen met astma kan het inademen van houtrook leiden tot zware astma-aanvallen en noodgevallen m.b.t. de ademhaling.


(vertaling: is uw gezondheid in gevaar? Pas op voor houtrook. Bevat giftige gassen en fijnstof (dat het meest zorgwekkend is volgens de EPA). Met stooktips om de schade enigszins te verminderen). Houtrook is het gevaarlijkst voor kinderen, senioren en hart- en longpatienten).


BRON: Utah doctors call for year-round ban on burning wood &

VIDEO origineel



Klik hier voor de film You Tube


SALT LAKE CITY — As the weather gets cooler and many Utahns are firing up their wood burning stoves and fireplaces, some Utah doctors are calling for policy that will ban wood burning year round, not just on certain red-air days. see more………….

nytlogo152x23BRON: Contest Aims for a Cleaner-Burning Wood Stove

WASHINGTON — Only blocks away, the Energy Department manages the search for quarks and NASA scours the heavens for Earth-like planets. But inside a big white tent on the National Mall, the focus is on something simpler: oak, ash and elm,

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 and how to make them heat a house with as little pollution as possible.

It is not rocket science, but the 12 teams that are competing to solve the problem are finding ways to get twice as much heat out of a log of firewood. The effort preserves woodlands, reduces the labor and expense for the mostly low-income people who use wood, and cleans the air.

The stoves on display here, in a tent with a dozen chimneys incongruously poking through the roof, use combinations of computer controls, catalytic converters and sophisticated gas-flow modeling.

“It’s a combination of low tech and high tech,” said James B. Meigs, one of the judges. “It’s a humble area that doesn’t get enough attention.”

Late Tuesday, the judges announced a winner, based on efficiency, cleanliness, consumer appeal and price: an entry by Woodstock Soapstone, of Woodstock, Vt., which builds stoves that are not only clean and efficient, but are intended to be eye-catching, too. The company was awarded $25,000, but the bragging rights are probably worth more, said John Ackerly, president of the Alliance for Green Heat. His group ran the competition, which was sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the federal departments of Energy and Agriculture, Popular Mechanics magazine and others.

Mr. Ackerly, citing census data, said wood was the primary source of heat for about 2.3 million American households, largely in rural areas.

Wood stoves typically deliver only 40 to 50 percent of the energy potential of the wood in the space they are supposed to heat. Some of the models in the competition deliver more than 90 percent and make the smoke cleaner. In wood stoves, cleanliness and efficiency turn out to be the same thing.

“If you can see it, if you can smell it, that’s energy that isn’t heating your house,” said another judge, Philip K. Hopke, a professor at Clarkson University and the director of the Institute for a Sustainable Environment there. Parts of the smoke that can be smelled or seen are particles and gases that failed to burn, Professor Hopke said.

The stoves are mostly cast iron or steel, and some are covered in enamel or soapstone. They look like low-tech devices, but in the tent they have been hooked up to digital meters that count their output of carbon monoxide and fine particles, which, like the particles from coal plants, cause respiratory problems. In places with many stove-equipped houses and unfavorable topography, the particles can build up to high concentrations.

A successful stove produces a white ash, made up of minerals like silica, calcium and magnesium, and not much else, because all the wood has been burned. Managing the combustion for efficiency and cleanliness — a problem recognized for hundreds of years — means providing just enough air for thorough burning, but not too much because the more air that enters, the more heat leaves the room as exhaust. Some stoves use oxygen sensors, like the ones in cars, to adjust a fan or valve to keep the balance right.

Many of the stoves use catalytic converters, somewhat like the ones in cars, to take carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, both pollutants, and convert them at high temperature into simple combustion products: carbon dioxide and water. In a car, the heat produced by a catalytic converter is useless, but in a stove, it is part of the product.

The stoves use clever innovations. Traditional stoves pull in cool air, but a team from the University of Maryland put the air intake pipe inside the exhaust pipe, an arrangement that heats the inlet air and cools the exhaust, thus conserving heat and improving efficiency. Their stove, a prototype built partly by the machine shop at the university’s College Park campus, uses a fan to draw in air. A small computer controls the fan, varying its speed to keep the temperature in the firebox in the proper range.

In a twist, the electricity to run the computer and fan comes from a thermoelectric generator, driven by the heat of the stove. For production models, the thermoelectric generator will allow the user to recharge a cellphone, said Ryan P. Fisher, a member of the team and a graduate student in fire protection engineering.

“Thermoelectric generators aren’t very efficient,” Mr. Fisher said, explaining that only about 10 percent of the energy is transformed into electricity. But the heat that they do not use goes into heating the house, he said, so “it really isn’t waste.” A battery, intended for an automobile, runs the system on start-up and is recharged as the stove runs.

A German import, Twinfire, heats the wood to 1,400 to 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit (760 to 980 degrees Celsius) until it gives off flammable gases, which form a yellow blowtorch of flame below the grate that holds the wood. Gas burns cleanly and thoroughly. The Twinfire is 93 percent efficient, said Niels Wittus, the importer. It does not require any computer controls.

Mr. Wittus’s version retails for $5,900 for the base-level model, but could save hundreds of dollars a year on fuel. Other models begin in the range of $1,000.

Mr. Meigs, one of the judges, who is the editor in chief of Popular Mechanics, said there was something to be said for low tech.

“People using wood stoves in Vermont probably do more to limit carbon dioxide buildup than all the photovoltaic roofs in Telluride,” he said, referring to solar panels. 


BRON: Wood burning code changed to yellow as air quality worsens

Washoe County’s air quality has worsened and wood burning has changed from no restriction to voluntary restriction, the Washoe District Health Department said.

“Residents of the Truckee Meadows are strongly encouraged to voluntarily reduce using their fireplaces, wood stoves, and pellet stoves until conditions improve,” the health department said in a statement. “Reducing burning now can help prevent air pollution from reaching unhealthy levels.”

The air quality index is moderate due to higher than normal levels of fine particulates, the health department said.

People with health conditions should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Proposes First New Standards for New Wood Boilers and Furnaces in 25 years

american lungStatement from the American Lung Association

Washington, D.C. (January 3, 2014)

The American Lung Association  welcomes the proposal of new standards for new wood-burning boilers, furnaces and stoves announced today by the U.S.

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 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA set the current standards for wood-burning devices in 1988, years before the first of the landmark studies that demonstrated that particles like those that make up wood smoke can be deadly. Improved technologies in use today can greatly reduce the harmful pollution from these devices. The Lung Association calls on the EPA to adopt strong final standards that will help protect communities from toxic air pollutants.

In October 2013, the American Lung Association filed legal action to require the EPA to update the 25-year-old standards to incorporate greater protection for the public. Emissions from wood-burning boilers, furnaces and other similar high polluting devices include particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds, hazardous air pollutants and carcinogens. These pollutants are linked to a range of adverse health effects including asthma attacks and premature deaths. The EPA’s failure to update the standards has meant that homeowners install thousands of new wood-burning boilers, furnaces and stoves each year that produce far more dangerous air pollution than cleaner units would.

Today’s proposal starts a process for public review and comment that the EPA must complete before issuing final standards. The American Lung Association will fully review and file detailed technical comments on the proposal. Once final, the standards will apply to new units, and would not affect existing boilers, furnaces or stoves.

The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to review emissions standards for health harming sources of air pollution every eight years, so the 1988 standard should have been updated beginning in 1996. The Lung Association, Environmental Defense Fund, Clean Air Council, and Environment and Human Health, Inc., all represented by Earthjustice, filed a lawsuit over the EPA’s failure to update emissions standards for new high-emitting sources of dangerous particles as required by the Clean Air Act. The EPA adopted voluntary standards for outdoor wood boilers in 2010, but most industry boilers do not meet these voluntary standards. 


De US Environmental Protection Agency stelt na 25 jaar de eerste nieuwe standaarden voor nieuwe hout boilers en kachels voor.

Washington, DC, 3 januari 2014
De Amerikaanse Long Associatie juicht het voorstel toe voor nieuwe standaarden voor stookketels, fornuizen en kachels die op hout branden, zoals vandaag gemeld door de US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). De EPA heeft de huidige standaarden voor deze toestellen vastgesteld in 1988, jaren voor de eerste belangrijke studies die lieten zien dat de deeltjes zoals die waaruit houtrook bestaat dodelijk kunnen zijn. Verbeterde technieken die tegenwoordig in gebruik zijn kunnen de schadelijke uitstoot van deze apparaten sterk reduceren. De Long Associatie roept de EPA op strenge definitieve standaarden te bepalen die helpen om gemeenschappen te beschermen tegen giftige luchtvervuiling.

About the American Lung Association
Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is “Fighting for Air” through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit


epaFilms over houtrook en vervuiling.




Adverse effects of wood smoke PM(2.5) exposure on macrophage functions.

Migliaccio CT, Kobos E, King QO, Porter V, Jessop F, Ward T.

Author information


Epidemiological studies have shown a correlation between chronic biomass smoke exposure and increased respiratory infection. Pulmonary macrophages are instrumental in both the innate and the adaptive immune responses to respiratory infection. In the present study, in vitro systems were utilized where alveolar macrophages (AM) and bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMdM) were exposed to concentrated wood smoke-derived particulate matter (WS-PM) and mice were exposed in vivo to either concentrated WS-PM or inhaled WS. In vivo studies demonstrated that WS-exposed mice inoculated with Streptococcus pneumoniae had a higher bacterial load 24 h post-exposure, and corresponding AM were found to have decreased lymphocyte activation activity. Additionally, while classic markers of inflammation (cellular infiltration, total protein, neutrophils) were not affected, there were changes in pulmonary macrophages populations, including significant decreases in macrophages expressing markers of activation in WS-exposed mice. The lymphocyte activation activity of WS-PM-exposed AM was significantly suppressed, but the phagocytic activity appeared unchanged. In an effort to determine a pathway for WS-induced suppression, RelB activation, assessed by nuclear translocation, was observed in AM exposed to either inhaled WS or instilled WS-PM. Finally, an analysis of WS-PM fractions determined the presence of 4-5 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and preliminary work suggests a potential role for these PAHs to alter macrophage functions. These studies show a decreased ability of WS-exposed pulmonary macrophages to effectively mount a defense against infection, the effect lasts at least a week post-exposure, and appears to be mediated via RelB activation.









Wood Smoke Worse Than Cigarettes




Mooi rapport (PDF) over fijnstof door houtstoken met grafieken en overzichten.


Inhalation Toxicology, 19:67–106, 2007
CopyrightInforma Healthcare
Informa Healthcare
ISSN: 0895-8378 print / 1091-7691 online
DOI: 10.1080/08958370600985875
Woodsmoke Health Effects: A ReviewWoodsmoke healtheffects



What’s in Wood Smoke?

One of America’s
Largest Sources of Pollution That
Is Responsible for 30,000 Deaths
Each Year

logo ca



The Dangers to Health from Outdoor Wood Furnaces

This study investigates how homes are affected by neighboring outdoor wood furnaces, as well as the health implications for the families living inside homes impacted by wood smoke.ehhi-logo-nh

In this report, Environment and Human Health, Inc. (EHHI) explains its study, which measured potential wood smoke inhalation by people living in homes in the vicinity of outdoor wood furnaces (OWFs), also known as outdoor wood boilers (OWBs). EHHI’s study monitored levels of PM2.5 and PM0.5 particles in each house for 72 hours. read more…..


What’s In That Smoke?

For many the smell of wood smoke from a fireplace elicits fond memories of hearth and home. 260x100logoThere is a lack of awareness, however, that wood smoke has become a major source of air pollution in the United States. Combustion of organic matter such as wood and yard debris releases a variety of harmful substances, including particulates, carcinogens, carbon monoxide, respiratory irritants and toxins. Many people–infants and children, pregnant women, senior citizens, and those suffering from allergies, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, pneumonia, or other heart or lung diseases–are at risk from the pollution released by wood smoke.


Group Against Smog & Pollution

Group Against Smog & Pollution


Woodsmoke harms your healt (PDF)

Department of ECOLOGY


spare the airSpare the Air PM (fijnstof)

The Air District passed its wood-burning regulation to limit harmful emissions of PM from wood smoke.




Particulate matter, or PM, refers to fine particles in the air that are detrimental to your health.  The Air District bans wood burning during Winter Spare the Air Alerts when PM pollution is expected to be unhealthy in the Bay Area.


pscleanairWhat is a burn ban?



new_york_state_169x28Department of Health New York State

Fine Particulate Matter Concentrations in Outdoor Air near Outdoor Wood-Fired Boilers
The full report, Fine Particulate Matter Concentrations in Outdoor Air near Outdoor Wood-Fired Boilers is available in Portable Document Format (PDF, 309MB, 121pg.)

Outdoor wood boilers (OWBs) can be substantial sources of wood smoke and fine particulates (PM2.5). By one estimate, PM2.5 emissions from one OWB are equivalent to 22 EPA-certified woodstoves, 205 oil furnaces, or as many as 8,000 gas furnaces.

Outdoor PM2.5 levels at residences near OWBs were compared to levels at residences distant from OWBs. An analysis of whether extreme PM2.5 levels at residences near OWBs coincided with wind conditions favoring local accumulation of OWB smoke (calm winds) or transport towards the monitors was also conducted.

Geomean PM2.5 levels were statistically significantly elevated at five of six nearfield monitors, located 150 to 1,270 feet from the nearest OWB, compared with reference monitors in the same area but ≥2,500 feet from an OWB. The odds of observing an extreme PM2.5 level were 1.8- to 4.3-fold higher at these five nearfield monitors (statistically significant). Calm winds were statistically significantly associated with increased odds of an extreme PM2.5 difference (nearfield PM2.5-reference PM2.5) at four of the five sites. “Downwind” was statistically significantly associated with increased odds of an extreme PM2.5 concentration difference at three of the five sites.

Study results indicate that OWBs can significantly increase PM2.5 levels. Given the severity of adverse health effects from even short-duration PM2.5 exposures, along with the demonstrated importance of OWBs to wood smoke and PM2.5 in some residential settings, efforts to reduce exposures to OWB wood smoke and PM2.5 are warranted.
For More Information

If you would like additional information about this study or the health effects of fine particles, please call the Department of Health at 518-402-7800 or 800-458-1158.


aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaClean air should be a fundamental right. Air pollution causes asthma attacks, lung disease, and even death. But our bodies don’t have to be the dumping ground for dirty industries.

The technology to dramatically reduce harmful air pollution is available today,
and major polluters should be required to use it.

Clean Air Ambassadors from every state are sending a powerful message:
Everyone has a right to breathe clean, healthy air.

It’s time Congress and the EPA used their ears to help our lungs.


chemical research

tx-2010-00407m_0012Combustion of biomass and wood for residential heating and/or cooking contributes substantially to both ambient air and indoor levels of particulate matter (PM). Toxicological characterization of ambient air PM, especially related to traffic, is well advanced, whereas the toxicology of wood smoke PM (WSPM) is poorly assessed. We assessed a wide spectrum of toxicity end points in human A549 lung epithelial and THP-1 monocytic cell lines comparing WSPM from high or low oxygen combustion and ambient PM collected in a village with many operating wood stoves and from a rural background area. In both cell types, all extensively characterized PM samples (1.25−100 μg/mL) induced dose-dependent formation of reactive oxygen species and DNA damage in terms of strand breaks and formamidopyrimidine DNA glycosylase sites assessed by the comet assay with WSPM being most potent. The WSPM contained more polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), less soluble metals, and expectedly also had a smaller particle size than PM collected from ambient air. All four types of PM combined increased the levels of 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2′-deoxyguanosine dose-dependently in A549 cells, whereas there was no change in the levels of etheno-adducts or bulky DNA adducts. Furthermore, mRNA expression of the proinflammatory genes monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, interleukin-8, and tumor necrosis factor-α as well as the oxidative stress gene heme oxygenase-1 was upregulated in the THP-1 cells especially by WSPM and ambient PM sampled from the wood stove area. Expression of oxoguanine glycosylase 1, lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1, and interleukin-6 did not change. We conclude that WSPM has small particle size, high level of PAH, low level of water-soluble metals, and produces high levels of free radicals, DNA damage as well as inflammatory and oxidative stress response gene expression in cultured human cells.