Comparing Wood Smoke Pollution to Diesel Exhaust and Tobacco Smoke

Comparing Wood Smoke Pollution to Diesel Exhaust and Tobacco Smoke

After many exhaustive studies and discussions, The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) and the California Resources Board (CARB) identified Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Diesel Exhaust as Toxic Air Contaminants (TACs). OEHHA has determined that there are no safe exposure levels for environmental tobacco smoke and particulates from diesel exhaust. So how does wood smoke compare to these other complex pollutants?

FCA recently conducted a direct comparison of the harmful constituents of wood smoke from fireplaces and wood stoves with diesel exhaust and tobacco smoke, and the results are striking. When put side by side, it’s obvious that wood smoke poses many of the same hazards to the public’s health as these two other complex mixtures of pollutants. However, wood smoke has not received the same kind of attention from regulatory agencies like OEHHA, CARB, and the USEPA.

Considering the fact that over one-third of the Bay Area’s winter time particulate pollution comes from wood smoke, it seems obvious that immediate action must be taken to address wood burning in order to protect public health. If it’s going to take more studies and discussions to ensure that wood smoke pollution is reduced in our communities, we say let’s get on with it already!

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