Wood Fire Pollutants

Wood burning smoke was always somethingthat one needed to control one’s exposure to. Yet the fumes are noxious enough to drive one away pretty quick, so itwas a problem we learned to live with. In times past, all dwellings were smoky and lung problems became thenorm.

Again occasional usage bothers fewand only briefly.  Mass usage would be amuch different matter, but not likely to happen at all.

In any event I grew up with thisstuff and much more nasty coal.  You soonlearn that wind is your friend and stay clear of the gases.  Thus I have no problem organizing a string ofbiochar earthen kilns.  The wind isalways present and it allows a person to work around these emitters.

Air Pollutants from Fireplaces and Wood-Burning Stoves Raise HealthConcerns

Released: 2/4/2011 10:25 AM EST 
Embargo expired: 2/5/2011 6:00 PM EST

*Note to journalists: Please credit the journal or the AmericanChemical Society as publisher of this report.*

Newswise — With millions of people warding off winter’s chill withblazing fireplaces and wood-burning stoves, scientists are raising red flagsabout the potential health effects of the smoke released from burning wood.Their study, published in the American Chemical Society’s (ACS’)journal, Chemical Research in Toxicology, found that the invisibleparticles inhaled into the lungs from wood smoke may have several adversehealth effects. It is among 39 peer-reviewed scientific journals published byACS, the world’s largest scientific society.

Steffen Loft, Ph.D., and colleagues cite the abundant scientificevidence linking inhalation of fine particles of air pollution — so-called“particulate matter” — from motor vehicle exhaust, coal-fired electric powerplants, and certain other sources with heart disease, asthma, bronchitis andother health problems. However, relatively little information of that kindexists about the effects of wood smoke particulate matter (WSPM), even thoughmillions of people around the world use wood for home heating and cooking androutinely inhale WSPM.

The scientists analyzed and compared particulate matter in air from thecenter of a village in Denmarkwhere most residents used wood stoves to a neighboring rural area with few woodstoves, as well as to pure WSPM collected from a wood stove. Airborne particlesin the village and pure WSPM tended to be of the most potentially hazardoussize — small enough to be inhaled into the deepest parts of the lungs. WSPMcontained higher levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), whichinclude “probable” human carcinogens. When tested on cultures of human cells,WSPM also caused more damage to the genetic material, DNA; more inflammation;and had greater activity in turning on genes in ways linked to disease.

The authors acknowledged funding from the NationalResearch Councils, Denmark, and the Danish Environmental Protection Agency.

“Oxidative Stress, DNA Damage, and Inflammation Induced by Ambient Air and WoodSmoke Particulate Matter in Human A549 and THP-1 Cell Lines”

The American Chemical Society is a non-profit organization chartered bythe U.S.Congress. With more than 163,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientificsociety and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related researchthrough its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientificconferences. Its main offices are in Washington,D.C., and Columbus, Ohio.

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