Wood Burning Ban Saves Lives

Five years ago, the Central Valley became the first area of California to ban indoor wood burning when an 'alert' was called by the air district; other air districts followed in 2008. This study, released in Nov. shows that "no burn" days save lives.

"The wood-burning bans are preventing at least 50 premature deaths each year in the Fresno-Clovis area and about 30 annually in Bakersfield, a new study suggests.

The study was completed last month (November) by David Lighthall, who is the health and science adviser for the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

His work bolsters a district board decision in October to tighten the wood-burning rule, resulting in more no-burn days. Air officials have halted burning on 22 days in Fresno County for November and December. The county had only six for the entire season last year.

Burning bans were once a serious public-relations problem for the district, but the public seems more accepting of the action than it was in 2003 when the rule was passed.

Mounting research shows the microscopic soot from wood burning is among the biggest air-pollution threats to the public. The specks, known as PM-2.5, can evade body defenses, lodge in the lungs, trigger many illnesses and result in premature death."

Thanks to Liza Bolanos

Full Story: Valley wood-burning bans rise; deaths fall

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