BC Lung Association’s Annual BC State of the Air Report released today.
Similarly to vehicle emissions, we cannot ignore the effects of wood smoke emissions on human health says the BC Lung Association’s Annual BC State of the Air Report released today – citing the pollutant as one of the province’s main polluters – and one in need of greater attention and tougher regulation.
Burning wood to heat homes is one of BC’s largest sources of wood smoke in our province. During the winter many communities approach or exceed fine particulate matter (PM2.5) objectives due to high wood burning rates coupled with temperature inversions.
“For many British Columbians the image of a wood stove represents warmth and tradition,” says Dr. Menn Biagtan, BC Lung Association Program Manager. “However wood smoke consists of fine airborne particles (PM2.5) that affect the heart and lungs when inhaled and a growing body of research shows wood smoke particles are just as damaging to health as other sources of particulate matter pollution such as exhaust emissions from vehicles.”
In scrutinizing the issue, the report takes a close look at various aspects of wood smoke emissions: its sources, impacts on lung and heart health, advancements in air quality programs, and the ongoing challenge of how best BC can balance economic, environmental and health objectives.
The report also recognizes the very important work of community champions in driving public awareness and policy progress on wood smoke concerns and includes a snapshot of other key pollutants and provincial initiatives underway to address areas of air quality and health concern.
Download the report here.
Report contributors include representatives from the B.C. Ministry of Environment, Environment Canada, B.C. Ministry of Health, Health Canada, B.C. Centre for Disease Control, Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley Regional District and University of British Columbia.