We all recognize that smoking is bad for our health.
Wood smoke is no different just because its smell reminds us of camping fun. It contains benzopyrene, benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, arsenic, anthracene, and acrolein. The PM2.5 it emits is accepted by the medical community to cause heart disease, stroke, asthma, lung cancer, and low birth weight. Even new wood and pellet stoves release methane, nitrous oxide and black carbon into our atmosphere and, in the Comox Valley, emit 73 times more PM2.5 than all other types of heating combined.
Our councils should be encouraged to improve our air quality – not pressured by profit-motivated industry to overturn the first step councils have taken toward addressing smoke pollution.
I know of families who have sold their homes in order to escape the negative health effects of wood smoke and many more who wish they could relocate but cannot afford to live where the air is less polluted. The bylaws HPBAC wants to ban are citizens’ only assurance that their air quality will not continue to deteriorate. Imagine what a relief it would be to have bylaws that even improved our air!
As DeClaire himself states, the current bylaws “take the easy path” because they do not hinder current wood stove owners in any way. They cap the problem rather than improving the air we breathe so they don’t “make a measurable improvement to air quality”. This is precisely why we need even stronger actions – not less!
I sincerely hope our councils work to further protect and enhance our health and air quality and that citizens consider the motives and quality of their sources when researching wood smoke pollution.