Jump to content

Wood burners are potential killers scientists report.


Featured Posts

 

Wood burners triple harmful indoor air pollution, study finds

 

Wood burners triple the level of harmful pollution particles inside homes and should be sold with a health warning, says scientists, who also advise that they should not be used around elderly people or children.

The tiny particles flood into the room when the burner doors are opened for refuelling, a study found. Furthermore, people who load in wood twice or more in an evening are exposed to pollution spikes two to four times higher than those who refuel once or not at all.

The particles can pass through the lungs and into the body and have been linked to a wide range of health damage, particularly in younger and older people.

The research was conducted in 19 homes in Sheffield over the course of a month at the start of 2020. The wood burners used were all models certified by the government as “smoke exempt appliances”, meaning they produce less smoke. But this and the new EcoDesign standard, due to become compulsory by 2022, only assess outdoor pollution.

 

Full article here Wood burners triple harmful indoor air pollution, study finds | Environment | The Guardian

  • Horror 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder if they have done similar work on stoves burning coal or nuts.

 Probably no better.

 

 I have lived much of my life with open wood fires or stoves.  Not the last thirty years in a house, but a lot of it on a boat.  Most of the first thirty five years was with open fires and often smoky wood stoves ( in Wales the main source of heat).

 It would be interesting to know if my lung disease was influenced by that, compared to my modest smoking habit before I gave up thirty years ago.

Edited by dor
Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, robtheplod said:

Presume the same applies to ones on Narrowboats?  Thought provoking! 

 

And the tests/results were done based on the fire being lit for an average of 4 hours - on many NB's it will be 168 hours per week for many months.

  • Greenie 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as I can see the media report cited gives few figures. It is a long list of diseases that at some stage have been linked to particulates inn the air but we have no idea whether the levels found in narrowboats (or even homes) are any where near those need to cause significant harm. 

 

One of the commonest statistical misleading statements is to say that something makes it x times more likely that x will occur. Unless you know the absolute level and can calibrate it with other risks then all that you might be saying is that a 1 in a 1000 year risk has become 1 in 500 years. Not a lot to be concerned about (but it could still happen tomorrow)

 

I suspect that the government is about to find itself in a similar trap. Up til now that only real justification for lockdowns, tiers etc is to constrain the rate of infection to a level that will not overwhelm the NHS. (Ignoring the fact that over time the NHS has become less able to deal with all of the presenting problems)

 

Once there is an effective level of vaccination, together with a marked reduction in infection  and transmission rates, how then does public health policy calibrate the remaining risk? The danger is that some bright journalist of lobbyist asks a minister whether there is still a risk that someone might catch or die from COVID-19. Unless we know what the risk is and can compare it with other risks we unconsciously face every day, the answer is unhelpful.

 

Articles like that cited (an unusually poor one from the Guardian) is that it feeds a trend that expects all risk to be eliminated and that is how we get to lockdown with no obvious way out.

Edited by Mike Todd
  • Greenie 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, dor said:

I wonder if they have done similar work on stoves burning coal or nuts.

 Probably no better.

 

 I have lived much of my life with open wood fires or stoves.  Not the last thirty years in a house, but a lot of it on a boat.

 It would be interesting to know if my lung disease was influenced by that, compared to my modest smoking habit before I gave up thirty years ago.

The Doctors used to say that the day you stopped smoking the condition of the lungs stopped deteriorating with the exception of cancer of course.  So maybe it is a question of whether you lungs have deteriorated since you stopped smoking.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, dor said:

I wonder if they have done similar work on stoves burning coal or nuts.

 Probably no better.

 

The results showed the burners were usually lit for about four hours at a time, and during this period the level of harmful particles in homes was three times higher than when stoves were not being used.

During those four hours, average particle levels rose to between 27 and 195 micrograms per cubic metre of air. The World Health Organization limit is 25μg/m3 over 24 hours. “Epidemiologists are increasingly recognising that exposure to high intensities of [small particles] over much shorter periods of time – hours rather than days – is linked to a range of health issues,” the researchers wrote.

 

“There is no reason to believe that particulate matter from wood-burning stoves is less toxic than that from other sources, such as combustion of fossil fuels,” said Prof Jonathan Grigg, of Queen Mary University of London, who led a recent report on the health effects of indoor air pollution on children for the Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

 

“This study confirms that indoor wood burners contribute significantly to indoor air pollution,” he said. “It also suggests that even government-certified solid fuel stoves impair local outdoor air quality. It is therefore difficult to justify their use in any urban area.”

2 minutes ago, Mike Todd said:

As far as I can see the media report cited gives few figures. It is a long list of diseases that at some stage have been linked to particulates inn the air but we have no idea whether the levels found in narrowboats (or even homes) are any where near those need to cause significant harm. 

 

One of the commonest statistical misleading statements is to say that something makes it x times more likely that x will occur. Unless you know the absolute level and can calibrate it with other risks then all that you might be saying is that a 1 in a 1000 year risk has become 1 in 500 years. Not a lot to be concerned about (but it could still happen tomorrow)

 

I suspect that the government is about to find itself in a similar trap. Up til now that only real justification for lockdowns, tiers etc is to constrain the rate of infection to a level that will not overwhelm the NHS. (Ignoring the fact that over time the NHS has become less able to deal with all of the presenting problems)

 

Once there is an effective level of vaccination, together with a marked reduction in infection  and transmission rates, how then does public health policy calibrate the remaining risk? The danger is that some bright journalist of lobbyist asks a minister whether there is still a risk that someone might catch or die from COVID-19. Unless we know what the risk is and can compare it with other risks we unconsciously face every day, the answer is unhelpful.

 

Articles like that cited (an unusually poor one from the Guardian) is that it feeds a trend that expects all risk to be eliminated and that is how we get to lockdown with no obvious way out.

 

The WHO specify limits and the test exceeded them by a considerable margin

 

The results showed the burners were usually lit for about four hours at a time, and during this period the level of harmful particles in homes was three times higher than when stoves were not being used.

During those four hours, average particle levels rose to between 27 and 195 micrograms per cubic metre of air. The World Health Organization limit is 25μg/m3 over 24 hours. “Epidemiologists are increasingly recognising that exposure to high intensities of [small particles] over much shorter periods of time – hours rather than days – is linked to a range of health issues,” the researchers wrote.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Reminds me of when I was a livaboard in Sheffield.  I had a young woman in a boat along side me, her and her friend would stand in the front well deck enjoying their Marlboro Lights and commenting that "All that wood smoke blowing across us from the chimney can't be healthy" 

What about open fires in a room? Surely they're even more deadly as you don't have a door to close at all. 

  • Greenie 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, noddyboater said:

Surely they're even more deadly as you don't have a door to close at all. 

Correct. That's what the article says.

 

The 'hazard' (so called) stems from opening the stove to re fuel it.

 

If you have an open fire you are definitely doomed.

Edited by The Happy Nomad
Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, The Happy Nomad said:

Correct. That's what the article says.

 

The 'hazard' (so called) stems from opening the stove to re fuel it.

 

If you have an open fire you are definitely doomed.

I'm well and truly buggered then. Just spent 4 days on the boat, both stoves going and stood behind the exhaust stack belching out god knows what.  Home to our cottage that's heated by open fires now! 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just propaganda to encourage people to rely on grid power.

Sure, some smoke enters the room when the wood burner is opened. Just like it always has.

It's never been an issue until the government(s) want to ban fossil fuels.

  • Greenie 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 18/12/2020 at 18:47, robtheplod said:

Presume the same applies to ones on Narrowboats?  Thought provoking! 

I suspect it's worse in boats because the combined flue & chimney length is so much shorter than in most houses and would likely provide much less draw when the doors are opened.

On 18/12/2020 at 20:38, Unix said:

Just propaganda to encourage people to rely on grid power.

Sure, some smoke enters the room when the wood burner is opened. Just like it always has.

It's never been an issue until the government(s) want to ban fossil fuels.

Inhalation of particulate matter from burning wood and coal has been a well documented issue for many years. This study just adds a bit more data.

 

Not everything is a govt conspiracy.

Edited by blackrose
  • Greenie 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 18/12/2020 at 19:09, Alan de Enfield said:

The results showed the burners were usually lit for about four hours at a time, and during this period the level of harmful particles in homes was three times higher than when stoves were not being used.

During those four hours, average particle levels rose to between 27 and 195 micrograms per cubic metre of air. The World Health Organization limit is 25μg/m3 over 24 hours.

So for 1/6th of the day the levels were 'dangerous' or would have been if that had been the level throughout the whole day... In those homes where the level just exceeded the WHO limit there really is nothing to worry about. In the homes where the level was almost 8 times the WHO limit there is definitely something to worry about. But having read a large part of the published article the scientific method seems to have been almost non-existent except insofar as they calibrated their low cost detectors against a Sheffield City Council Reference Air Quality Monitoring station.

 

When the researchers do properly managed tests which measure and take into account the type of stove, the type of fuel, the size and ventilation of the room and the strength and direction of the wind among other factors then I'd like to see their results.

 

Quote

 

2.6. Study Limitations

The study exhibits several limitations that are associated with variability in the research setting due to its exploratory design and focus on real-world stove use. First, the study does not account for the impact of room size, seal, ventilation, and dwelling age on the duration of air pollution exposure witnessed. Nor does it relate the levels of air pollution to specific stages of the combustion cycle. Further study is needed in order to understand these aspects of indoor air pollution, requiring a sampling frame that is determined by more than the stove type and a research design that is appropriate for lab conditions. Second, despite using outdoor sensors to illustrate that the indoor air pollution is not coming from outside sources (see Section 3.2), further details on air pollution at the indoor-outdoor interface were beyond the design of this study. This is a characteristic of air pollution research more broadly, as reflected in the UK government’s recent multi-million-pound call for research that is able to develop solutions to air pollution problems at the indoor/outdoor interface [51]. Relatedly, windspeed could influence the infiltration rate of outdoor air indoors, but, again, this was beyond the remit here. As such, further research into this relationship is recommended. Finally, the influence of sensor data on participant stove management practice has not been explored in detail. This will be drawn out more fully in a separate paper.

 

 

Until then this is just the Guardian indulging in click-baiting.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.