Monday, January 06, 2014

Guest Post: EPA Must Do More to Fix Health Menace Posed by Wood Heaters

Clean Air Watch recently hailed a proposal by the US EPA to move ahead with long-delayed plans to require lower-polluting residential wood heating devices.

Our comments weren't meant to condone past EPA inaction on this topic, merely to encourage the agency to get off the dime and deal with this problem going forward. 

But some people directly harmed by wood smoke want EPA to do more to deal with this health menace.  In the following guest commentary. Mr. Gary Mastroeni of Syracuse, N.Y., explains why.

I was dismayed to see your praise of the EPA’s long overdue effort to limit emissions from residential wood heaters.  You and your organization should be criticizing the EPA for dragging its feet for decades regarding this issue.  How many millions of defective wood burning devices have been sold over the past two decades?  Devices that will continue to emit high levels of toxic emissions for at least the next two decades.  How many millions of innocent Americans will develop lung cancer, or other lung diseases because they live next to one of these polluting devices that the EPA let manufacturers' unscrupulously market?

My family’s health has been negatively impacted by one of the EPA’s failed experiments in their efforts to regulate air pollution from wood burning devices.  It is called a phase 1 hydronic heater, according to the EPA this device was supposed to be 70% cleaner than the “dirty” wood boiler they were supposed to replace.  Below is a photo of the emissions from this device, which is located just 30 feet from my property line.  Frequently my house is surrounded by these emissions.  We are prisoners in our own home. 
For the past 7 years I have worked tirelessly to have this injustice addressed at the local, state and federal level.  When I tried to have a local law passed to ban these devices, it was thrown in my face that these “devices” must be good because the EPA through its “Energy Star” program was giving tax credits to people who bought these wood boilers.  The EPA set a bad example, that was followed by every state environmental agency.  Only the State of Washington had enough sense to pass an emission limit that was low enough to ban the sale of these hydronic heaters in their state until just recently.

Instead of praising the EPA your organization should be calling for them to buy back every dirty wood burning device that has been sold over the last 25 years, because they failed to implement safe emission limits on a timely basis.  Only then will Americans be able to breathe clean air.  
Unfortunately we have a President who likes to talk about health care for all Americans, but doesn’t realize that the first step to good health begins with clean air.


Anonymous said...

There has never been even ONE case of anyone getting lung cancer from a home wood burning stove. Leave the rest of us alone and move (sissy boy)

L.L. Norton said...

Hey, Mr. or Ms. Anonymous sending in a comment without your name: maybe you are the "sissy boy!"