2010 March 20: CT Norwich: Wood furnace bill killed in committee

2010 March 19: CT Hartford: COMMENTS & Letter to the Editor: Legislature Fails To Curb A Health Hazard: Outdoor Wood Furnaces

 

COMMENTS:

Little will be done until it personally effects a member of our fine legislative body.

rickyhb06092 (03/22/2010, 7:01 AM )

 


Why is it that something so sensible – protecting our health – is made so hard by a few selfish people who don’t care about the ill-health they cause?

CaresAboutHealth (03/22/2010, 4:09 AM )

 

When will people realize that we need to protect our health and planet. Why is wood smoke given a free pass to make people sick, kill some and contribute to global warming? How hard is it to read the studies and science? Please stand up and protect us.

smokelessinvancouver (03/22/2010, 2:19 AM )

Letter to the Editor
 
This shouldn’t have been a hard call. More than 750 people have called the state Department of Environmental Protection in the past four years to say that neighbors’ outdoor wood-burning furnaces were making them ill.

This volume of complaints should have signaled to legislative leaders that they needed to act, to either ban the things or regulate them tightly enough so they are no longer a health hazard.

But no, they allowed a weak regulatory bill to die in committee last week. The lack of action was shameful.

The outdoor burners, which have gained some popularity in the last half-dozen years, are sometimes confused with indoor wood stoves. They are different: The outdoor unit is a wood-fired boiler in a small, insulated shed with a smokestack. It heats water that is piped underground to a house or other building.

Indoor wood stoves must be certified by the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection; there is no such requirement for outdoor wood-burning fireplaces (also known as OWFs).

‘A Lot Of Thick Smoke’

Do the outdoor units pose a serious danger? The state Department of Environmental Protection’s website says they do: "OWFs produce a lot of thick smoke, which in addition to being a nuisance to neighbors has serious health and air pollution impacts. Smoke from OWFs contains unhealthy amounts of particulate matter, dioxin, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrochloric acid, formaldehyde and other toxic air pollutants."

Wood smoke contains many of the same ingredients as cigarette smoke and presents many of the same issues. It can "increase adverse respiratory and cardiovascular symptoms" and is "associated with a diverse range of harmful health effects, including asthmatic sensitivity, lung illnesses and cancer," the DEP says.

Dr. David Brown, a public health toxicologist, told a legislative committee that fine particulates from outdoor furnaces get into nearby homes, and that an exposure as short as two hours can produce "significant adverse health effects."

Why do outdoor furnaces smoke so much? DEP Commissioner Amey Marrella said in written testimony that the design of outdoor furnaces "generally leads to incomplete combustion, resulting in frequent periods of excessive smoking and much higher quantities of particulate matter than other wood-burning devices."

Current Regulations Ineffective

Though some newer outdoor units are better, the DEP Web report says it knows of none on the market able to fully comply with state air-quality standards.

In 2004, the DEP pushed to ban the devices. Instead, the legislature created some rudimentary regulations. As of 2005, new units had to be more than 200 feet from the nearest house not served by the furnace, and the smokestack must be higher than the roof peak of any residence within 500 feet.

If these regulations worked, there would be no need to change the law. The number of complaints strongly suggest that the regulations are, as Commissioner Marrella said, "inadequate."

The bill before the legislature didn’t solve the problem. Initially it would have banned use of outdoor furnaces from April 15 to Oct. 15, a half-baked measure akin to banning snowblowers for the summer. Furnaces pose a health threat all year, and should so be regulated. But the bill was amended to let towns regulate the furnaces (something DEP officials think towns can do now). It failed to clear the environment committee by a vote of 17-12.

Nine towns in the state have banned outdoor furnaces, as have hundreds of communities across the country, along with the state of Washington. Every other Northeastern state has either passed more stringent regulations or is in the process of doing so.

But not here. How many complaints is it going to take? People are sometimes forced out of their homes; they are kept up at night; they (and their children) suffer headaches and asthma. This is a public health issue. Wake up.

 
010 March 19: CT: RAWSEP View: Don’t burn wood, period: Ct State

Environment Committee: Smoke ‘em out (using Your Wood-Burning Furnace)

March 19, 2010 at 6:17 pm by Ken Dixon
 
The bill that would have created tougher regulations on outdoor wood-burning furances for home-heating died in the Environment Committee
Not only was the state legislature unwilling to do anything at all about outdoor wood furnaces/boilers – they would not even deal with wood smoke as a public health nuisance,” said Nancy Alderman, a public health advocate. ” What kind of state are we living in?  We have a large number of people in this state  being made sick from neighbor’s outdoor wood furnaces/boilers and we have a state department of health that is unwilling to deal with the wood smoke problem – and in fact the Association of Local Health Directors testified against adding wood smoke to the Public Health Nuisance Code  – and a legislature that is unwilling to help in any way.”
 
2010 March 19: CT Hartford: Bill to ban outdoor wood burning furnaces dies in committee

An image of a woodsmoke burning furnace (submitted photo)

The bill that would have created tougher regulations on outdoor wood-burning furances for home-heating died in the Environment Committee
Nancy Alderman writes:
The CT wood smoke Bill died today in committee. Representatives Fontana, Willis and Senator Meyer worked really hard to move the Bill out of committee and we have let them know how grateful Environment and Human Health, Inc. (EHHI) is for their help. This was a hard one to loose because we have so many sick people.
The people who voted it down argued that the state already had outdoor wood stove regulations and that they were adequate — and that all that was needed was better enforcement.

A map of where complaints about outdoor wood burning furnaces have originated (submitted document)

This of course is NOT true – and if they had read our testimony and looked at our study they would know it was not true. If they had read the harmed people’s testimonies – or listened to any of them them – they would know that was not true.

EHHI’s study showed that the inside air of people who live in the vicinity of outdoor wood stoves where the stoves are within the state regulations — created particulates and wood smoke within neighbors’ houses that were so high as to cause illness among those families.
Not only was the state legislature unwilling to do anything at all about outdoor wood stoves – they would not even deal with wood smoke as a public health nuisance.
What kind of state are we living in? We have a large number of people in this state being made sick from neighbor’s outdoor wood furnaces and we have a state department of health that is unwilling to deal with the wood smoke problem – and in fact the Association of Local Health Directors testified against adding wood smoke to the Public Health Nuisance Code – and a legislature that is unwilling to help in any way.
When the tally comes out for who voted “yes” and who voted “no” I will send that out. Again we thank Senator Meyer, Rep. Fontana, Rep. Willis and the others who voted “yes” for trying their best to help all those who are sick and looked to the legislature for help.
Nancy Alderman, President
Environment and Human Health, Inc.
1191 Ridge Road
North Haven, CT 06473
203-248-6582
http://www.ehhi.org
http://ehhijournal.org

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March 20th, 2010 | Category: Health, Pollution | 51 views |
 
2010 March 20: CT Norwich:

Wood furnace bill killed in committee

 
Posted Mar 20, 2010 @ 11:21 PM
A state Senate bill aimed at banning outdoor wood-burning furnaces died in committee Friday, likely ending legislation on the  topic for this year.
The New London County Farm Bureau opposed Senate Bill 126, citing expected widespread economic hardship among other things. The bill would have exempted use by farmers but the farm bureau and its state parent organization, the Windsor-based Connecticut Farm Bureau Association, fought the measure anyway.
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