Where There’s Smoke

Lisa Arkin, executive director of Beyond Toxics, recently penned a letter in The Register-Guard discussing the dirty air we’ve all been breathing. Arkin cited some alarming data from LRAPA showing that from November through mid-December our air was healthy to breath roughly one out of every three days.

While Arkin discusses industrial pollution, I wanted to bring the public’s attention to pollution from residential wood-burning heating systems. The top sources of air pollution in the colder months of the year are residential wood-burning heating systems. Burning wood is an archaic way to heat homes and is literally killing us.

If you monitor our air quality at PurpleAir.com, you’ll see as the temperature drops and the wood-burning increases, the particulates flow, filling our air and then our lungs.

The good news is that this is an easy problem to solve. We can phase out wood-burning heating systems, replacing them with systems that won’t foul our own air. We’ll need to subsidize low-income households, but clean air is well worth the cost.

I suggest contacting your elected officials and urging them to create a phase-out program for wood-burning heating systems.

Joshua Welch


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