To the Times of Ti: Since 1988, every wood stove sold in the U.S. must be certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Particulate matter (PM) emitted by wood stoves certified by the EPA cannot exceed 7.5 grams per hour (g/hr). Unlike wood stoves, OWBs burn at lower temperatures which prevents the complete combustion of harmful gases and PM. According to the NYS Attorney Generals report titled Smoke Gets in Your Lungs http://www.oag.state.ny.us-press-2005-aug-August, emissions from the smallest OWBs can average 161 g/hr of PM and the short stack creates dangerous lower atmospheric dispersion of the smoke.. According to Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the incomplete combustion of wood produces the formation of a group of chemicals called Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). Some PAHs have been categorized as probable human carcinogens by the US Department of Health and Human Services. The American Lung Association has also determined wood smoke contains dangerous chemicals such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrochloric acid, formaldehyde and other chemicals known to cause cancer.
Air quality experts have determined that short and long term exposure to these gases can increase respiratory and cardiac symptoms aggravate asthma, cause chronic bronchitis and lead to premature death. Fragile populations such as young children, the elderly, pregnant women and persons with heart or pulmonary conditions are especially vulnerable. Evidence about the health dangers and contamination caused by OWBs is available in a report titled Assessment of Outdoor Wood-fired Boilers by ESCAUM available online at http://www.nescaum.org/documents/assessment-of-outdoor-wood-fired-boilers.
Environmental agencies are receiving a growing number of complaints that OWBs produce thick, acrid, foul smoke which permeates homes and properties. In the absence of regulations, several states and many municipalities across the country have already imposed tough zoning or entirely banned OWBs. Pending legislation, such NYS Assembly Bill A01982, will place significant restrictions on homeowners who plan to install or operate an OWB.