2009 Oct. 13: MI Pleasant Lake (Jackson County): Outdoor Wood Boiler Investigation pages 1-10 (Part 1 of 5, to see all 5 parts, see RAWSEP website)

2009 Oct. 13: MI Pleasant Lake (Jackson County): Outdoor Wood Boiler Investigation pages 1-10 (Part 1 of 5, To see all 5 parts, see RAWSEP site)

Health Consultation
OUTDOOR WOOD BOILER INVESTIGATION
PLEASANT LAKE, JACKSON COUNTY, MICHIGAN
Prepared by the
Michigan Department of Community Health
OCTOBER 13, 2009
Prepared under a Cooperative Agreement with the
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation
Atlanta, Georgia 30333
Health Consultation: A Note of Explanation
A health consultation is a verbal or written response from ATSDR or ATSDR’s Cooperative Agreement Partners to a specific request for information about health risks related to a specific site, a chemical release, or the presence of hazardous material. In order to prevent or mitigate exposures, a consultation may lead to specific actions, such as restricting use of or replacing water supplies; intensifying environmental sampling; restricting site access; or removing the contaminated material.
In addition, consultations may recommend additional public health actions, such as conducting health surveillance activities to evaluate exposure or trends in adverse health outcomes; conducting biological indicators of exposure studies to assess exposure; and providing health education for health care providers and community members. This concludes the health consultation process for this site, unless additional information is obtained by ATSDR or ATSDR’s Cooperative Agreement Partner which, in the Agency’s opinion, indicates a need to revise or append the conclusions previously issued.
You May Contact ATSDR Toll Free at
1-800-CDC-INFO
or
Visit our Home Page at: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov
HEALTH CONSULTATION
OUTDOOR WOOD BOILER INVESTIGATION
PLEASANT LAKE, JACKSON COUNTY, MICHIGAN
Prepared By:
Michigan Department of Community Health
Under a Cooperative Agreement with the
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Table of Contents
Acronyms and Abbreviations
…………………………………………………………………………………………..
iii
Summary
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
1
Public Health Issues and Purpose
………………………………………………………………………………………
2
Public Health Concern
………………………………………………………………………………………………….
2
Purpose
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
2
Background
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
2
Discussion
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
5
Environmental Contamination
……………………………………………………………………………………….
5
Exposure Pathways Analysis
…………………………………………………………………………………………
7
Toxicological Evaluation
………………………………………………………………………………………………
8
Health Outcome Data
………………………………………………………………………………………………….
10
Children’s Health Considerations
…………………………………………………………………………………
11
Conclusions
………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
11
Recommendations
………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
12
Public Health Action Plan
……………………………………………………………………………………………….
12
References
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
13
Preparers of Report
………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
16
Certification
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
17
List of Tables
Table 1. Exposure pathway analysis
…………………………………………………………………………………..
8
Table-C-1. Weather data for 3/13/2008
…………………………………………………………………………..
C-3
Table-C-2. Weather data for 3/20/2008
…………………………………………………………………………..
C-3
Table-C-3. Weather data for 3/24/2008
…………………………………………………………………………..
C-4
Table-C-4. PM2.5 concentration ranges during odor and non-odor moments
………………………..
C-5
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
D-8
Table D-1. Meteorological data from KLAN during complainant location PM2.5 data collection.
Table D-2. Meteorological data from KLAN during referent location PM2.5 data collection
….
D-8
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
D-9
Table D-3. Meteorological data from KJXN during complainant location PM2.5 data collection.
Table D-4. Meteorological data from KJXN during referent location PM2.5 data collection

D-10
Table D-5. Summary of studies of human exposures to PM2.5 and correlated health effects

D-11
Table D-6. Individual PM2.5 ambient air results from complainant’s property.
…………………..
D-13
Table D-7. Individual PM2.5 ambient air results from referent location
…………………………….
D-31
List of Figures
Figure 1. Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during
odor and non-odor events (details in Appendix C)
………………………………………………………..
6
Figure 2. Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening of March 25th
and 26th at the complainant’s property (details in Appendix D)
………………………………………
7
i
Figure-A-1. Image of the relative size of particulate matter
……………………………………………….
A-2
Figure-A-2. Aerial photo of owner and complainant properties
………………………………………….
A-3
Figure-A-3.
Illustration of the installation of an outdoor wood boiler and appropriate height of
stack.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
A-4
Figure-A-4. Photo of location of OWB relative to complainant’s house.
…………………………….
A-4
Figure C-1 Comparison of average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odors
and non-odors
…………………………………………………………………………………………………
C-2
Figure D-1. Photos of DustTrak placement during complainant property sampling
…………….
D-43
Figure D-2. PM2.5 results for the referent location in Holt, Michigan collected on the evening of
March 26 & 27, 2008
…………………………………………………………………………………….
D-44
Figure D-3. PM2.5 results for the complainant property near Jackson, Michigan collected on the
evening of March 25 & 26, 2008
…………………………………………………………………….
D-45
List of Appendices
Appendix A. Referenced Figures
…………………………………………………………………………………..
A-1
Appendix B. Instrument Description for PM2.5 Measurement Appendix C. Description of site visits during sensory observations and results of minimum
…………………………………………….
B-1
maximum PM2.5 measurements.
………………………………………………………………….
C-1
Appendix D. Continuous monitoring of PM2.5 at the complainant and referent locations.
……..
D-1
Appendix E. Toxicology Overview of Wood Smoke and Associated Particulate Matter
………..
E-1
ii
Acronyms and Abbreviations
ASTM American Society for Testing and Materials ATSDR Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry CAPEB Cooperative Agreement Program Evaluation Branch DEQ Michigan Department of Environmental Quality DHAC Division of Health Assessment and Consultation EPA Environmental Protection Agency FEF forced expiratory flow FEF 25%-75% forced expiratory flow during middle 50% of FVC test FEV1 forced expiratory volume in one second FEV1% percentage of FVC expired in one second (ratio FEV1 : FVC) FRM federal reference method FVC forced vital capacity m3 meters cubed MDCH Michigan Department of Community Health MIOSHA Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration NESCAUM Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management OWB outdoor wood boiler PEF peak expiratory flow PM particulate matter PM10 particulate matter with a 10 μm diameter or smaller PM2.5 particulate matter with a 2.5 μm diameter or smaller SD standard deviation of a sample US United States μg micrograms μm micrometers
iii
Summary
INTRODUCTION At the request of the Jackson County Health Department, Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) in collaboration with Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) conducted an environmental public health investigation regarding excessive smoke and odors being generated by an outdoor wood boiler (OWB) within a residential development. MDCH was concerned about vulnerable population such as children, people with impaired breathing conditions like asthma, and people with heart disease.
CONCLUSIONS
Conclusion 1
Basis for conclusion
Next Steps
Conclusion 2
Basis for conclusion
Next Steps
FOR MORE INFORMATION
MDCH concludes that inhaling elevated concentrations PM2.5 found in wood smoke on a short-term or long-term basis in a residential neighborhood can harm people’s health. MDCH concludes that the continued operation of the specific OWB in question is an urgent public health hazard based on the findings described in this health consultation.
MDCH’s determination is based on the combined information gathered from site investigations, peer-reviewed literature, publicly available documents, and personal health information provided by the complainant. During the investigation, the OWB in question was found to emit substantial amounts of smoke during operation that contained a known hazardous substance (PM2.5) at levels that may harm people’s health, especially sensitive individuals. The investigation confirmed the complainant’s descriptions and video documentation.
MDCH will continue to work with the local health department and through the public health code to address this hazard.
MDCH further finds that the operation of other significant smoke emitting sources that contributes to ground level smoke and associated hazardous substances to the ambient air are a public health hazard to vulnerable populations.
MDCH’s determination is based on observations of other significant smoke emitting sources and finding from the OWB site investigation.
MDCH will continue to work with the local health department and through the public health code to address this hazard.
If you have concerns about your health, you should contact your health care provider. Please call MDCH Division of Environmental Health at 1-800-648-6942 regarding this health consultation.
1
Public Health Issues and Purpose
Public Health Concern: Hydronic heaters, also known as outdoor wood boilers (OWBs), have been demonstrated to produce elevated amounts of fine particulate matter (e.g. PM2.5). PM2.5 refers to particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (Figure A-1) that penetrate deeply into human lungs with the smallest size fractions entering the blood stream. Short-term exposures of vulnerable populations to elevated PM2.5 concentrations have been reported in published literature to result in negative health effects including premature death.
Purpose: Evaluation of public health implications of smoke and odors generated from the use of an OWB in a residential development.
Background
On November 5, 2006, DEQ received its first complaint from the neighbor experiencing the smoke and odors. On November 6, 2006, a DEQ Air Quality Division engineer conducted an on-site inspection and observed the OWB. The DEQ Engineer concluded that the OWB was placed in a location that did not allow proper dispersion of smoke and odors. The placement of the OWB results in smoke and odors dispersing at ground level with wind movement. The complainant’s (i.e., neighbor) property and home begins approximately 180 and 220 feet directly to the east and downwind of the OWB (Figure A-2).
Over the subsequent couple years, the complainant requested action from local township officials including local public health citing Act 368, part 333.2433 of the Michigan public health code. The complainant repeatedly presented concerns to the DEQ including citing the following regulation as the DEQ’s authority for action:
R 336.1901 Air contaminant or water vapor, when prohibited
Rule 901. Not withstanding the provisions of any other department rule, a person shall not cause or permit the emission of an air contaminant or water vapor in quantities that cause, alone or in reaction with other air contaminants, either of the following:
(a)
Injurious effects to human health or safety, animal life, plant life of significant economic value, or property.
(b)
Unreasonable interference with the comfortable enjoyment of life and property.
The DEQ (letter: January 20, 2007 from the Air Quality Division Chief) and local county health department (letter: October 19, 2007 RE: Legal opinion regarding outdoor wood boiler (OWB)
2
complaint) responded to the complainant in writing regarding their decision about the complainant’s request. The DEQ Air Quality Division stated in its response letter to the complainant:
Excerpts from paragraph 2: “First we have no doubt that your neighbor’s OWB is having a negative impact on your home and family.” “We agree that something needs to be done to abate the air pollution that OWBs are causing in many states, including Michigan. We also agree that the Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ’s) “OWB and Air Quality Fact Sheet” discourages the installation and use of OWBs and provides several recommendations that would mitigate some the adverse impacts of OWBs if the recommendations were followed. Finally we agree that Rule 901 prohibits the emission of smoke and odors that cause an unreasonable interference with the comfortable enjoyment of life and property.”
Paragraph 3: “However, we respectively disagree that Rule 901 is the appropriate regulatory mechanism to regulate the tens of thousand of residential OWBs that have been installed in Michigan over the past few years. We believe that the best way to regulate OWBs in for the United Stated Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop emission standards and a certification program for the manufacturers and distributors of OWBs similar to the program that EPA developed for indoor residential wood burners. We have joined many other states in encouraging the EPA to start developing such a program. Unfortunately, we have not been successful and it does not look like EPA will be developing any regulatory program for OWBs in the near future. Therefore, we have started to work on developing State of Michigan emission design standards and a certification program for the manufactures and distributors of new OWBs. We believe this is the most effective and expeditious way for Michigan to abate the air pollution from OWBs that you and thousands of other Michigan citizens are experiencing.”
Paragraph 5: “We urge you to continue to follow up with your local township government and pursue relief under your local nuisance ordinance, since there is nothing else that we can do in the immediate future to address the impact that your neighbor’s OWB is causing. You may also want to consult an attorney to discuss any legal actions that may be available to you”
The local county health department letter to the complainant stated:
“…county health department does not have the authority and duty to regulate OWB’s under the public health code. Further, the local county health department’s opinion states that “…in the absence of a local ordinance, the agency with such authority and duty is the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ)”.
3
These documented communications are representative of the interactions between the
complainant, state and local governments in an attempt to resolve the situation.
Other northeast states have public health concerns about the use of OWB’s. The Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) has investigated air pollution concerns regarding OWBs. They estimate that 29,568 OWBs have been sold in Michigan from 1990-2005 and that annual sales are increasing each year (NESCAUM 2006). NESCAUM describes OWBs as located outside and able to continuously burn wood to heat water that is plumbed into a house that provides radiant heat and/or hot water (Figure A-3).
NESCAUM (2006) focuses on the most commonly sold OWBs that lack secondary combustion capability (i.e., first generation OWBs). First generation OWBs have design and operating features that result in excessive smoke, nuisance conditions, and PM2.5 emissions. The OWB firebox is large and holds enough wood to provide heat for long periods (e.g., 24 hours) before needing to be refilled. Because the firebox has a large door, burning non-recommended fuels (i.e. green, wet, or non-split wood; yard waste; household refuse) can easily occur. During operation, first generation OWBs continuously burn wood. The wood burns under oxygen-deprived conditions (i.e., smoldering) until the building requires heat, at which time air is allowed into the firebox initiating an intense flame to heat the water. The OWB cycles from smoldering to intense fire conditions during operation. Smoldering conditions causes chemicals to be released as gases that cool and form PM that condenses on internal surfaces and is released to the air. During the intense fire conditions, the PM on internal surfaces can be released to the air. The heat from the fire is captured by the water, resulting in smoke that lacks heat (i.e., cold smoke). Cold smoke does not rise, but instead tends to fall back toward the ground. The combined effect of cold smoke and the typical short smoke stack height of the OWB is inadequate dispersion of smoke and associated fine PM. This results in ground level smoke and fine PM in the breathing zone.
States have begun to implement rules about OWB operation. For example, Maine established regulations (July 4, 2008, Chapter 150 Control of Emissions from Outdoor Wood Boilers) to set a minimum distance of separation between an OWB owner and neighbors to protect human health. The regulations also consider the effects of unique topography and meteorological conditions that could require a greater distance than the minimum. Maine states that an OWB without emission controls must be installed at least 250 feet from the nearest property lines or at least 270 feet from the nearest dwelling that is not on the same property as the outdoor wood boiler. In addition Maine states “No person shall operate any outdoor wood boiler…if an abutting residence is located less than 500 feet from the outdoor wood boiler, unless the outdoor wood boiler has an attached stack extending two feet higher than the peak of the roof of the structure being served by the outdoor wood boiler.” Maine provides a fact sheet that further says “If terrain conditions could complicate air flow patterns on a parcel of land (e.g. in a valley, hilly or tall trees nearby), it may be necessary to install the OWB even farther away than the minimum setback distances to avoid costly changes that could be required later if a nuisance condition occurs when the boiler is operated.”
The OWB (model: Woodmaster 4400) discussed in this health consultation does not have secondary emission controls and operates as described by NESCAUM (2006) with smoldering and intense flame cycles. As determined by DEQ, the placement of this particular OWB was
4
approximately 180 feet from the complainant’s property in a low-lying area of land, resulting in
the top of the smoke stack being no higher than the middle of the surrounding houses (Figure A4).
This health consultation evaluates the public health risks of the OWB.
Discussion
Environmental Contamination
DEQ and MDCH staff jointly conducted site visits to evaluate the smoke and odor complaints related to the operation of an OWB. The site visits consisted of three activities. The first activity was to observe and record qualitative descriptions of the smoke opacity and presence of odors on the complainant’s property and surrounding area when the OWB was in operation. The DEQ Air Quality Division engineer made qualitative observations according to the DEQ smoke and odor investigation method (Modification of ASTM E544 Standard Practices for Referencing Suprathreshold Odor Intensity). During the smoke and odor observations, MDCH used a real-time optical aerosol monitor for PM2.5 (TSI Side Pack model: AM510) to measure PM2.5 concentrations. For the final activity, MDCH used a continuous data recording optical aerosol monitor (TSI Dust Track model: 8520, SN: 85200673) to track PM2.5 air concentration patterns over 12.8 hours.
MDCH and DEQ confirmed the location and operation of the OWB (model: Woodmaster 4400). Additionally, MDCH and DEQ observed at least one open-burning source (burn barrel) in use during a site visit. Both sources were observed to emit white smoke that moved with the wind direction off the property of the OWB owner. MDCH and DEQ experienced odors downwind of the OWB while in operation (i.e., emission of white smoke). MDCH staff identified an increase in PM2.5 ambient air concentration during the observed odor events around the complainant’s home. MDHC observed that the increases in PM2.5 ambient air concentrations corresponded with staff observed mild odors (Figure 1) (Appendix C).
Over 12.8 hours, MDCH identified a spiked pattern of PM2.5 concentrations in the complainant’s ambient air consistent with the operation of an OWB (Johnson 2006) (Figure 2). MDCH observed minimal variation in PM2.5 ambient air concentrations at the referent location (Appendix D). The average PM2.5 concentration over the 12.8 hours was 31 ± 13 μg/m3 with a maximum 1-minute average of 151 μg/m3 and a maximum 1-hour average of 40 μg/m3. At a referent site located in a residential development without an OWB, MDCH determined an average PM2.5 ambient air concentration was 1 ± 1 μg/m3 with a maximum 1-minute average of 11 μg/m3 and a maximum 1-hour average of 1 μg/m3 (Appendix D). MDCH determined that ambient air concentrations were significantly higher at the complainant’s property compared to the referent site.
MDCH concludes that the spiked pattern of PM2.5 concentrations in the complainant’s ambient air are caused by the operation of the OWB in question.
5
Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C)
Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C) Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C)Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C)Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C)Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C)Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C)Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C) Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C) Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C) Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C) Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C) Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C) Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C) Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C)Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C) Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C) Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C)Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C) Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C) Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C) Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C) Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C) Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C) Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C) Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C)Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C)Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor non-events (details in Appendix C)
Average Minimum PM2.5
Average Maximum PM2.5
(μg/m3)
(μg/m3)
Figure 1. Bar graph comparing average minimum and maximum PM2.5 concentrations during odor and non-odor events (details in Appendix C).
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OWB Jackson 3/25-3-26
Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D). Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D).Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D).Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D).Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D). Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D).Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D).Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D).Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D). Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D).Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D).Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D).Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D).Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D).Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D).Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D).Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D).Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D).Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D).Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D).Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D).Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D).Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D).Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D). Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D). Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D). Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D). Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D).Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D). Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D).Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D). Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D). Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D). Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D). Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D).Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening March 25th and 26th at complainant’s property (details in Appendix D).
17:52
18:16
18:40
19:04
19:28
19:52
20:16
20:40
21:04
21:28
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22:16
22:40
23:04
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0:16
0:40
1:04
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2:16
2:40
3:04
3:28
3:52
4:16
4:40
5:04
5:28
5:52
6:16
6:40
Military Time (hours)
Figure 2. Line graph of one-minute PM2.5 averages collected during the evening of March 25th and 26th at the complainant’s property (details in Appendix D).
Exposure Pathways Analysis
An exposure pathway contains five parts: (1) a source of a potentially hazardous substance, (2) transport of the hazardous substance through an environmental material (i.e., soil, air, water, food), (3) a point of exposure, (4) a route of entry into a person, and (5) a receptor person or population. An exposure pathway is considered complete if evidence exists that all five of these elements are, have been, or will be present. More simply stated, an exposure pathway is considered complete when people are highly likely to be exposed to the hazardous substance. A pathway is considered a potential exposure pathway if at least one of the elements is missing but could be found at some point. An incomplete pathway is when at least one element is missing and will never be present.
MDCH concludes a completed exposure pathway exists while the OWB is in operation based on site visit observations, pattern of PM2.5 ambient air concentrations from the complainant’s property and the complainant’s video documentation of the wood smoke (Table 1). A completed exposure pathway also existed for burn barrel use.
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Table 1. Exposure pathway analysis.
Source(s)
Chemical
Transport
Exposure
Time Frame
Status
Point
Route
Population
Outdoor Wood Boiler without emission controls or
PM2.5
Air
Air
Inhalation
Local Residents
Past
Complete
Present
Potential
other sources
(e.g. burn
Future
Potential
barrels)
Researchers have determined that wood smoke and its PM impact air quality in residential areas (Allen et al. 2008, Barn et al 2008, Hellén et al. 2008, Anuszewski et al. 1998). Further, wood smoke and PM infiltrate into homes in both summer and winter (Barn et al 2008, Anuszewski et al. 1998). OWBs can generate large quantities of wood smoke including large quantities of PM2.5 (Johnson 2006). Wood smoke will contain partial combustion products (i.e. organic chemicals and trace elements) (US EPA 1993). These partial combustion products cool as they are exhausted to the outside and form PM that includes these chemicals (US EPA 1993). Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) conducted a study that reported “average fine particulate emissions from one OWB are equivalent to the emissions from 22 EPA certified wood stoves, 205 oil furnaces, or as many as 8,000 natural gas furnaces (NESCAUM 2006).” Hellén et al. (2008) found that residential wood combustion can cause very high, short-lived PM air concentration and sustained elevations in atmospheric chemical concentrations such as benzene (e.g. 70% of benzene in the air was from wood burning). Johnson (2006) established that OWBs cause frequent, repeated, and highly-elevated concentration spikes of PM, specifically PM2.5. Because OWBs are used for heating homes, as well as other heating purposes, OWB operate 24 hours per day, seven days per week, for seven to twelve months per year in the northern Midwest. People living near these units can experience both short-term (acute) and long-term (chronic) exposures to wood smoke.
Toxicological Evaluation
Wood smoke is a combination of gas and PM. PM is reported as a range of diameter sizes measured in micrometers (μm). PM less than 10 μm (PM10) and PM less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) are common size ranges found in wood smoke (Park and Lee 2003, Hellén et al. 2008, Johnson 2006, NESCAUM 2006, Gullett et al. 2004). The size range of particles included within PM10 measurements also captures PM2.5. The smaller the PM the further into the lungs the particles can reach. Thus PM2.5 is the size range that can go furthest into the lungs with the smallest of these particles (less than 0.1 μm) having been shown to pass through the lungs into a person’s blood stream (Nemmers et al. 2002).
The gas and particles of wood smoke contain detectable amounts of numerous types of organic chemicals (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), phenols, aldehydes, alkenes, alkanes, and
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aromatics) (US EPA 1993, Gullett et al. 2004). This includes several chemicals that can increase a person’s risk of cancer including benzo(a)pyrene, chrysene, dibenzo(a,h)anthracene, indeno(1,2,3 cd)pyrene, benzo(k)fluoranthene, benzo(a)anthracene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, benzene, and formaldehyde (Brown et al. 2007, Hellén et al. 2008, NESCAUM 2008). Additionally, trace elements can be released during the combustion of wood or other material (US EPA 1993). Amount and types of chemicals in any particular wood smoke will depend on the characteristics of the materials being burned, system used to conduct the combustion, and how the system is operated (Hellén et al. 2008, US EPA 1996, NESCAUM 2008).
Researchers have described plausible pathways in which PM causes disease. These pathways are triggered by the physical presence of the PM, the chemicals contained in the PM, or the combination of both. The pathways begin with an innate immune response involving oxidative stress and an inflammatory response. The inflammation response causes a release of proteins that effect blood vessel function and results in tightening around the blood vessels. For people with existing partial blood vessel blockages (i.e., plaque build up), the inflammation response is thought to cause plaques to break off and move freely in the blood stream (i.e., embolism) and/or constrict the blood vessels resulting in increased blood pressure and possible complete blockage of blood vessels. Damage to the inner-lining of blood vessels may also occur resulting in vascular or cardiovascular disease (O’Neill et al. 2005, Brook 2007, Rajagopalan et al. 2005, Pope et al. 2004).
The inflammation response may also affect the part of the nervous system that controls heart function. Research suggests changes in nervous system function from PM exposure can trigger heart attacks. The physical presence of PM may interact with nerve endings causing a nerve reflex resulting in altered function of the part of the nervous system that controls the heart. This nerve reflex may best explain why very short PM exposures (1 hour) correlate with increased hospitalization for heart disease and increased numbers of moralities due to heart disease. It is also plausible that the smallest particles enter the blood stream and directly interfere with heart function (Nemmar et al. 2002, Brook 2007).
Elevated exposures to wood smoke and its PM are associated with acute and chronic changes in the physiology of people and associated with negative health outcomes (Zelikoff et al. 2002, Naeher et al. 2007). These negative health outcomes include increased risk of hospitalization and/or mortality from heart disease, respiratory disease, and disease of the blood vessels. MDCH provides a more extensive review of published studies in Appendix E. As a brief overview, published studies report increased exposures to PM can increase the risk of deaths per day by 0.7 and 8 percent per 10 μg/m3 increase in PM measured as PM2.5 or PM10. These risks primarily apply to sensitive populations that include people with partially blocked arteries (i.e., atherosclerosis), heart disease, respiratory disease (e.g. asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), older adults, or people smoking cigarettes. Short-term exposures to PM (1 hour – 2 days) can trigger negative clinical outcomes (i.e., heart attack or death). Long-term exposures to PM are correlated with risk of cardiovascular and respiratory effects up to and including mortality. Long-term exposure may increase the risk of developing heart or respiratory disease.
The US EPA recognizes PM2.5 as a hazardous air pollutant and has established National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) (15 μg/m3 annual average, 35 μg/m3 24-hr 98th percentile) to
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reduce PM2.5 concentrations in ambient air (see Appendix D). MDCH finds that the PM2.5 ambient air concentrations recorded on the complainant’s property were on average 31 times higher than the referent location (Appendix D).
No government ambient air PM2.5 standard exists for the purpose of public health evaluation in a residential development. However, Brown et al. (2007) proposed such standards in a recent publication in relation to an evaluation of OWB wood smoke and stated the following:
“In summary, cancer appears to be the sensitive endpoint with a 7-months-a-year, lifetime exposure of 6 μg/m3: it yields over1 in 100,000 risk of cancer” Brown et al. (2007) goes on to state, “an exposure level of 18μg/m3 (over 6 hr) puts people at risk of health problems like asthma. Other risks highlighted in Table 5 [in Brown et al.] include: exposures to concentration of 24 μg/m3 is a moderate risk for hospitalization due to asthma or COPD, whereas exposure levels of 30 μg/m3 places people at high risk for serious health problems and hospitalization from asthma, COPD and cardiovascular disease for the most susceptible.”
MDCH can not eliminate the possibility that concentrations reported to correlate with decreased respiratory function, measures of cardiac function, increased hospital admissions due to respiratory or cardiac effects, or increases in daily mortality will occur on the complainant’s property during the heating season if the OWB continues to be operated (Appendix D). Additionally, MDCH cannot assume that the measured PM2.5 concentrations represent a reasonable maximum exposure, so higher concentrations than those recorded may occur.
Health Outcome Data
The complainant neighbors with documented medical sensitivity to wood smoke have been under medical evaluation for respiratory and/or cardiovascular conditions. The neighbors are non-smokers and reported regular exercise prior to current health conditions. Medical results from the male complainant’s pulmonologist and cardiologist state findings of chronic lung disease and coronary artery disease with severe calcification. The spouse’s pulmonologist diagnosed a severe cough likely due to chronic bronchitis and sinusitis brought on by smoke exposure, and possible asthmatic bronchitis secondary to smoke inhalation. During a particularly severe smoke event caused by a smoke source from the property in question, one of the smoke-sensitive neighbors was taken to the hospital due to a severe restriction in breathing. The spirometry report stated a finding of "very severe obstruction". The medical spirometry report stated that the patient’s lung function, as measured by FVC, FEV1, FEF25-75, and PEF, were 966 percent (%) of normal lung function for a person of that age, height, ethnicity, and gender.
On December 19, 2008, Robert D. Albertson, M.D., F.C.C.P, cardiopulmonary specialist, advised in writing that these individuals "avoid all smoke exposure", based on their health conditions. The statement further elaborated the severity by stressing that the patient’s lung condition is “absolutely exacerbated by exposure to smoke” and “ongoing exposure could cause permanent and progressive damage to [the patient’s] lungs, which could cause [the patient’s] significant disability”. On December 22, 2008, Mark A Rasak, D.O., F.A.C.O.I., F.A.C.C., F.S.C.A.I., wrote that "Continued exposure from this source could of course cause progression of the disease, serious health complications and eventually contribute to his demise. As a
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