Todd said:I don't know if the EPA really needed to get involved in this whole wood stove thing? Local and State Governments were coming out with their own ordinances and pretty much forcing manufactures to produce cleaner burning stoves before the EPA got involved. Let the private sector, State and locals decide what's best for them not the Feds.
Mont. city breathes easier after phasing out old wood stoves --report
Gayathri Vaidyanathan, E&E reporter
Published: Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Phasing out old wood stoves in Libby, Mont., since 2005 has helped improved air quality and may have improved children's health, the nonprofit Health Effects Institute said in a report released today.
Smoke from wood stoves is associated with respiratory illness in children and adults, including increased rates of hospitalization and emergency room visits. About 10 million stoves are used in the United States, U.S. EPA says.
"This is a study in one city, but with 9 and 10 million wood stoves in operation across the U.S., it's nice to know that moving to less polluting wood stoves can result in an improvement in air quality," said Bob O'Keefe, vice president of the Boston-based institute.
Libby has frequently failed to meet national air standards for particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers (PM 2.5) in diameter. Particles that small can penetrate the nose and throat, and reach the lungs and heart.
But the city now meets the PM 2.5 standards due to the phaseout, which replaced 95 percent of high-polluting stoves with more efficient models or with stoves that burn alternate fuels, O'Keefe said.
The replacement of 1,200 older wood stoves with newer, more efficient models was coordinated by researchers at the University of Montana, Missoula, and began in 2005. The mountainous region has always suffered from particulate matter pollution during wintertime as people light stoves to keep out the cold.
As researchers replaced stoves, they measured levels of PM 2.5 in the atmosphere. Measurements were made outdoors, in schools and within 20 homes where stoves were swapped.
Outdoor air quality improved dramatically, with PM 2.5 concentration in winter falling by 30 percent after the phaseout program was completed. The quality of indoor air depended on the way the stoves were used.
"Generally, air quality inside homes also improved, but stoves remain relatively high emitters compared with oil or gas furnaces, and proper stove operation is an important determinant of emissions," the study says.
The researchers also did a rough survey of illnesses and the numbers of days children were absent from school. In the years following the swaps, parents reported fewer cases of wheezing in children. The most striking reductions were for other symptoms including itchy or watery eyes, sore throat, bronchitis, influenza and throat infection.
Further research needs to be done to show that there is a strong correlation between hospital admission rates and illness and wood stove replacement, the report says.