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

Parksville seniors getting stronger with age

Weightlifting couple qualify to compete at Worlds Masters in Montreal in August

Camera captures cougar lurking in Parksville’s Foster Park neighbourhood

Resident shared photo to alert others to big cat’s presence

RDN tipping fees set to go up in July

The Regional District of Nanaimo is set to increase tipping fees at… Continue reading

VIDEO: RCMP ask kids to help name soon-to-be police dogs

13 German shepherd puppies will be born this year

Watchdog called after man who yelled racial slurs at B.C. vigil hurt during arrest

BC RCMP say man was ‘acting suspiciously’ at prayer vigil for victims of New Zealand mosque shootings

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh steps into the House of Commons, making history

Burnaby South MP becomes first visible minority to lead a federal party in the House of Commons

Reeling Port Alice about to lose its only bank

Scotiabank branch closure follows latest mill setback, bad for business and the elderly

Simard guilty in Vancouver Island double murder

Convicted of two counts of second-degree murder in 2016 killing of Courtenay couple

Crab poaching under cover of darkness earns 10-year commercial fishing ban, vessel seizure

A Cape Mudge resident involved in poaching dungeness crabs in Vancouver Harbour… Continue reading

‘Considerably large’ tractor tire fell and killed 3-year-old girl on B.C. farm

Delta’s deputy fire chief said crews tried to helicopter girl out after a tractor tire leaning against a barn fell onto her

Nearly 40% of British Columbians not taking their medications correctly: poll

Introduction of legal cannabis could cause more issues for drug interactions

Mining company fined $70,000 after two workers killed in B.C. truck crash

Broda Construction pleaded guilty to failing to provide safe workplace at Cranbrook rock quarry

Most Read