pollution in California than all of the vehicles on the road, including passenger cars and heavy-duty commercial and municipal trucks and buses. that residential wood burning is responsible for 38% of formaldehyde emissions in the Sydney region. Exposure to benzene can lead to blood disorders, including anemia and excessive bleeding, as well as leukemia. Recent research has found that black carbon increases antibiotic resistance in bacteria and promotes the spread of infections in the respiratory system. ”. found evidence that use of a wood stove in the year before or during pregnancy increased the chance of a child developing acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (, ). It, that can affect the eyes, nose, throat and lungs, and can pose a special problem for people who have asthma or bronchitis. Residential wood burning is the most significant source of PAHs in many countries around the world, including, for example, the United States and Sweden. A Surprisingly Large Contributor of Benzene. During winter, 74% of PM10 extracts from all three locations showed significant mutagenicity in the Ames Test,  compared to 25% in summer. into the atmosphere. The use of treated wood in fireplaces and wood stoves, along with trash, may be so common that it. PAH photoreaction products and PAHs can absorb light energy to form reactive oxygen species (ROS) and free radicals. Wood burning creates large quantities of localized outdoor air pollution, which has been declared a Group 1 human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. While in the atmosphere, some of the toxins in wood smoke chemically change and may become even more harmful. As Oregon State University’s Superfund Research Program tells us, if you want to reduce your exposure to PAHs, “avoid smoke from wood fires, whether from home heating or for recreational purposes.”. It is also known to, in demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis. The fumes from wood-burning stoves are especially dangerous if you have a respiratory condition, such as asthma. The World Health Organization, for instance, has noted that exposure to benzo(a)pyrene in the womb may interfere with fetal growth due to its anti-estrogenic effects, which may disrupt the developing endocrine system. (A DNA adduct is a segment of DNA bound to a cancer-causing chemical. s exposed to sunlight may promote skin aging and skin cancers. In the area around Alexandra, for instance, daily PAH concentrations were 0.45 nanograms/m3 in summer, but 128.9 nanograms/m3 in winter. Wood smoke pollution is only a problem for people with asthma. For example, this study of a typical residential area in Finland showed that wood combustion contributes as much as 70% to local benzene sources. Wood burning is also a significant source of mercury emissions into the atmosphere. ), A toxicology study on human lung epithelial cells found that, “strikingly,” PAHs that were adsorbed onto wood smoke particles were even more potent in activating changes in gene expression than benzo(a)pyrene individually applied in suspension. It also emits. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency estimates that heating a home with a correctly-operated US EPA-certified wood stove results in the emission of 97 lbs of PM, According to the Australian Air Quality Group, t, the California Air Resources Board, wood stoves and fireplaces contributed an average of 50.4 tons a day of PM. An Australian study found evidence that use of a wood stove in the year before or during pregnancy increased the chance of a child developing acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). The exception to these findings was in urban Milan, in an area where emissions were found to largely come from wood-burning pizzerias as well as cars. There is also evidence that breathing in acrolein impairs vascular repair, which can lead to increased risk of cardiovascular disease. as one of twelve “Level 1 Compounds” under the US-Canada Binational Toxics Strategy. It was noted that earlier studies have found a correlation between childhood ALL and exposure to ambient levels of benzene in the air. It was also noted that black carbon from wood smoke was also present in non-wood-burning homes, due to infiltration from outside. that arsenic may be used as a source tracer to measure the proportion of wood smoke in the air. There are several types of aldehydes in wood smoke, including acetaldehyde, which is a probable carcinogen, formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen, and acrolein. that is released by burning becomes attached to fine particles in the air that may travel for days over long distances, eventually winding up in soil or water. As this study points out, the PAH content is “much higher” in wood smoke compared to vehicle exhaust, and “a higher mutagenic and carcinogenic potential” exists for wood smoke compared to traffic exhaust. , wood burning emits more benzene than any other source of home heating. )pyrene as burning one kilogram (2.2 lbs) of wood. found that dioxin levels rose ten times above background levels when wood stoves were in use. There is also related information on our Toxins page. (The study also noted that, in addition to benzene, wood stoves are also a “notable source” of toluene and xylenes.) A Swedish study found that wood-burning homes had 3- to 5-fold higher levels of several hazardous PAHs, and roughly 4 times the total PAH cancer potency, compared to non-wood-burning homes. It has been noted that higher DNA adduct levels have been found in infants compared to their mothers, suggesting “an increased susceptibility of the developing fetus to DNA damage.”. However, wood burning emits high levels of harmful particulate pollution, toxins, short-lived climate pollutants and other compounds. that OH-PAHs are “present in significant amounts in wood smoke particles,” and that they may be even more toxic and carcinogenic than unaltered PAHs. The researchers concluded, “As PAHs initiate multiple adverse outcome pathways and are prominent carcinogens, their role as key pollutants in wood smoke and its health effects warrants further investigation.”. According to the Australian Air Quality Group, this makes the average wood stove as polluting as 2,200 gasoline-fueled passenger cars. It also emits toxins such as PAHs, dioxins, benzene, mercury, formaldehyde and arsenic into our environment, to name a few. While the pollution from wood burning is especially dangerous for those with existing health conditions, children, and the elderly, it is hazardous to the health of all human beings. For more information about wood burning and environmental issues, please follow these links: Home |  Health | Residential Burning | Public Spaces | Environment | Resources | About Us, Doctors and Scientists Against Wood Smoke Pollution © 2020, Because wood is natural and trees can be replanted, some people believe that burning wood is better for the environment than using fossil fuels. also suggests that it promotes cancer metastasis in those who have breast cancer. There is also. As we’ve noted. New Zealand, where wood burning is common in winter, ambient arsenic levels have been shown to rise substantially in correlation with wood burning levels. Carried through the air on microscopic particles of wood, the toxins in wood smoke either make their way into the lungs, brains and bloodstreams of humans and animals, or they eventually wind up on the ground and in our waterways, where they become part of our environment and our food chain. As the State of Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. It was also noted that black carbon from wood smoke was also present in non-wood-burning homes, due to infiltration from outside. For instance, the NSW EPA in Australia reports that residential wood burning is responsible for 38% of formaldehyde emissions in the Sydney region. You would. There are several types of aldehydes in wood smoke, including acetaldehyde, which is a probable carcinogen, Wood burning is a surprisingly large emitter of formaldehyde. Once emitted, benzo(a)pyrene can travel as much as 1,000 km, and once deposited, it can remain in bodies of water and on land for several years before degrading. The PAH benzo(a)pyrene, which is in wood smoke, is listed as one of twelve “Level 1 Compounds” under the US-Canada Binational Toxics Strategy. 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