New Island-made film highlights the cost of wood heating

Film details effects of wood smoke on people’s health

The film outlines a range of known health effects caused by wood smoke, including asthma, reduced lung function, heart disease, lower birth weights, stroke and shorter life spans.

A new film called The Cost of Wood Heating was released by Breathe Clean Air Comox Valley and features Dr. Charmaine Enns, medical health officer for Vancouver Island north and a number of local residents who are affected by wood smoke.

“Many like to think of wood heating as a pleasurable and inexpensive source of heat,” says Jennell Ellis, a volunteer with Breathe Clean Air who is also in the film.

“But as the film highlights, children and adults who are exposed to wood smoke are experiencing very real costs to their health, to their emotional well-being and to their finances.”

The nine-minute film outlines a range of known health effects caused by wood smoke, including asthma, reduced lung function, heart disease, lower birth weights, stroke and shorter life spans.

Enns notes that when there are spikes in fine particulates, which come from wood smoke in the Comox Valley, there are “associated spikes in hospital presentations especially for heart disease or underlying lung disease.”

She also explains that many of the carcinogenic chemicals in cigarette smoke are also found in wood smoke.

“I often hear people say that someone who gets sick from wood smoke must be really sensitive or something, which they would never dream of saying to someone who gets sick from second-hand cigarette smoke,” said Enns. “Wood smoke is just as toxic, and there is far more of it in our air.”

People in the film talk about impacts on their own health or the health of their families. Natasha Umpleby’s daughter has a diagnosed eye allergy to wood smoke.

Stella Chester talks about the emotional impact of being made sick by wood smoke.

Dr. Marie-Clare Hopwood, a family doctor, expresses concern about the impact of wood smoke on her young children’s developing lungs and their future increased risk of lung and heart disease.

“I am really not sure why in 2018 we still believe that wood smoke isn’t causing harm,” adds Dr. Hopwood.

The film points toward the need for solutions as well. Ellis notes a number of approaches that can help clean up the air, including providing incentives for non-wood burning appliances, keeping other sources of energy affordable, capping the number of wood stoves, and protecting people in their own homes from the intrusion of wood smoke.

The film was made by J. Moors as part of the Comox Valley Art Gallery’s Youth Media Project. It is available on Breathe Clean Air’s website at www.breathecleanair.ca/resources.

Just Posted

$3.5M all-season turf field planned for Qualicum Beach

Town seeks grant for community playing surface upgrades

Car theft suspect arrested in Coombs

Vehicle and two motorcyles recovered on Jan. 16

Qualicum Beach council big on support for multi-use cinema proposal

Society asks for 10,000 square feet, gets recommendation to consider with strategic plan

Lincoln stolen from Parksville dealership found near Duncan

Vehicle was located three days later with minor damage

Ballenas student experiment going into space

Science experiment designed by five SD69 students will travel to International Space Station

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

FOCUS: Canada’s revamped impaired driving law brews ‘potential for injustice’

There must be ‘trigger’ for cops to come knocking, Surrey MP says

Barack Obama to speak at Vancouver event

Former U.S. president will speak with board of trade in March

Former welfare clients still owed money, B.C. Ombudsperson says

Investigation found 2,600 people docked illegally for earning income

Prince George could get province’s second BC Cannabis Store

The first brick-and-mortar government retail location opened in Kamloops on Oct. 17

B.C. chowdery caught up in ‘rat-in-soup’ scandal to close

Crab Park Chowdery will be shutting down Jan. 20

Teen vaping is an epidemic: US government

E-cigarettes are now the top high-risk substance used by teenagers, outpacing cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana

Vancouver councillors unanimously approve motion declaring climate emergency

Vancouver joins cities like Los Angeles and London

Caribou herd disappears from Kootenays after last cow relocated

One cow from the South Selkirk herd and two from the Purcells were moved this week

Most Read