On July 9, 2008, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board adopted Regulation 6, Rule 3: Wood-burning Devices to reduce the harmful emissions that come from wood smoke. The new rule will:
* Restrict wood burning when air quality is unhealthy and a Spare the Air Advisory is issued
* Place limits on excessive smoke (exceding 20 percent opacity)
* Require only cleaner burning EPA certified stoves and inserts be sold
* Require only cleaner burning EPA certified stoves and inserts in new construction or remodels
* Prohibit the burning of garbage and other harmful materials
* Require labeling on firewood and solid fuels sold within the Bay Area.
Guidance Document for the Wood Burning Rule
Woodsmoke Pollution and Health Effects
To learn more about the wood smoke pollution and the associated health effects, please visit these websites.
Health Effects Basics
EPA Health Effects Information
Washington State Health Effects of Woodsmoke
Research on Health Effects
California Air Resources Board PM Mortality Research
Pyramid of Health Effects and Pertinent Health Studies
EPA Woodstove Basics
Can I burn?
Check before you burn
* Call 1-800-HELP AIR
* Sign up for email air alerts
* Check local radio, TV or newspapers
The San Francisco Bay Area is home to almost seven million residents and an estimated 1.2 million fireplaces and wood stoves. Wood smoke air pollution from these devices can be a significant air pollution and public health problem during the winter.
Wood Smoke is 80 – 90% Fine Particulate matter
Wood smoke air pollution comes from the burning of wood both indoors (fireplaces, woodstove and other wood burning devices) and outdoors recreational firepits, Wood smoke contains approximately 80 -90 % fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) measuring 2.5 microns in size (one millionth of a meter or 1/70th of a human hair).
Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) Associated with Serious Health Effects
Fine particles can easily bypass the natural filters in the nose and throat an penetrate deep into the lungs. Health studies have linked long-term exposure to PM with serious health effects such as
* Decreased lung function
* Aggravated asthma
* Nose and throat irritation
* Chronic bronchitis
* Lung damage
* Irregular heart beat
* Premature death in people with lung and heart disease
People with heart or lung disease such as congestive heart failure, angina, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, emphysema or asthma may experience health effects earlier and at lower levels than healthy people. Older adults are more likely to be affected because they are more likely to have chronic heart or lung diseases than younger people. Children are most susceptible because their respiratory systems are still developing, they breathe more air (and air pollution) per pound of body weight than adults and they are more likely to be playing outdoors.