In response to the two recent pro-air pollution letters: Firstly, new woodstoves, rated at 4.5 grams, seldom emit that figure. Rating numbers are produced in a lab using crib stacked kiln-dried lumber. They do not take into account startup or reloading. Tests are performed by skilled technicians, coaching the very best performance out of a stove.
As there is no safe level of PM2.5, this is still far too damaging to health. The PurpleAir monitors in Parksville have shown new stoves don’t come close to those numbers (parksville.purpleair.org). They have recorded numbers as high as 444.34 ug/m3, enough to cause serious lung and heart problems. Levels this high send some to the ER by ambulance, gasping for air. As to the statements, ‘people need to move if they don’t like it,’ Canadians have the right to move freely in our nation. No one should be forced from their home because of a neighbour’s choice of heat.
PM2.5 is the most toxic components of air pollution. It is as small as a bacteria and cannot be kept out of the most well-sealed homes. Excusing wood burning by citing tradition and way of life cannot change that wood stove emissions are detrimental to health. Nostalgia or not, the facts are irrefutable.
People heating with cleaner forms of heat are far from the minority. According to the Ministry of Environment, wood burning accounts for 97 per cent of PM2.5 emissions associated with heating in B.C. and accounts for “only” 10 per cent of heating needs. As the PQB News editorial points out, Dr Hasselback shared dire statistics and confirmed, “Island communities would be well-served to wean themselves from wood in the interest of public health.”