Wood burning (stoves and other ways)

A friend sent me this - I haven't located the paper yet
"the following was a Q & A in the Sunday paper, thought it may be of help?
Q My neighbour has built a workshop in his garden, with planning approval from the District Council. It has a wood-buring stove with a flue that emits smoke, which I have read could contain carcinogens. Is there anything I can do?
A Much depends on whether you are living in a smoke-control area. If so, it is an offence under the Clean Air Act 1993 for your neighbour to emit smoke from a chimney, whether domestic or commercial, unless he is burning an 'authorised fuel' or using an 'exempt appliance' - one that produces very little or no smoke. Visit smokecontrol.defra.gov.uk for further information. Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the smoke might also be a statutory nuisance. In either case, consult your Local Authority Environment Department. You could take action under the 1990 Act or common law.
If you are not in a smoke-control area, your situation is covered only by the 1990 Act - but, again, the local authority should assist you. If you wish to take proceddings yourself, you should consult a solicitor. "
My first reaction was this was a red herring, assuming the stove was included in the plans.
The statutory nuisance regulation IIRC are intended to cover stuff like bonfires on washing days etc.
However a quick Google to see if I could locate the newspaper article turned up stuff like http://www.ehhi.org/woodsmoke/health_effects.shtml
"■Although wood smoke conjures up fond memories of sitting by a cozy fire, it is important to know that the components of wood smoke and cigarette smoke are quite similar, and that many components of both are carcinogenic. Wood smoke contains fine particulate matter, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, sulfur dioxide and various irritant gases such as nitrogen oxides that can scar the lungs. Wood smoke also contains chemicals known or suspected to be carcinogens, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and dioxin. ■Wood smoke interferes with normal lung development in infants and children. It also increases children’s risk of lower respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. ■Wood smoke exposure can depress the immune system and damage the layer of cells in the lungs that protect and cleanse the airways. ■According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), toxic air pollutants are components of wood smoke. Wood smoke can cause coughs, headaches, eye, and throat irritation in otherwise healthy people. ■For vulnerable populations, such as people with asthma, chronic respiratory disease and those with cardiovascular disease, wood smoke is particularly harmful— even short exposures can prove dangerous. ■The particles of wood smoke are extremely small and therefore are not filtered out by the nose or the upper respiratory system. Instead, these small particles end up deep in the lungs where they remain for months, causing structural damage and chemical changes. Wood smoke’s carcinogenic chemicals adhere to these tiny particles, which enter deep into the lungs. ■Recent studies show that fine particles that go deep into the lungs increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. EPA warns that for people with heart disease, short- term exposures have been linked to heart attacks and arrhythmias. If you have heart disease, these tiny particles may cause you to experience chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, and fatigue."
and loads of other stuff mainly from the US.
Assuming that wood burning is more prevalent in the US as opposed to coal burning and thus is top of the problems list, I presume that similar issues may arise from burning coal (although the particulate size may make a difference).
Certainly this still raises a question about 'green' heating by harvesting renewable woodlands.
However in this particular complaint the carcinogen issue is still a red herring until action is taken to ban all fires and stoves which burn wood/peat/coal etc. and do not have a particllate filter.
Up until now I hand't thought of my 'fake coal' gas fire as being particularly environmentally friendly compared to a wood burner.
Ho hum
Dave R
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David WE Roberts wrote:

Homo Sapiens has had open fires in enclosed spaces for a quarter of a million years. Why are open fires so bad for us all of a sudden?
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Dave Osborne wrote:

*sigh* google 'smog clean air act'
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On 10/05/10 13:26, Dave Osborne wrote:

I *think* in the USA (at least until recently if not still) that arsenic treated tanalised timer was still common. There's a claim by some woman that her neighbour is burning loads of lumber offcuts in his workshop giving rise to arsenic laden smoke. MAybe someone's picker up on that? I agree that would be nasty, but a bit of smoke from an ordinary wood burner?
--
Tim Watts

Hung parliament? Rather have a hanged parliament.
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On Mon, 10 May 2010 14:09:20 +0100, Tim Watts wrote:

Yeah... 2003 I think, which means there are an awful lot of decks etc. still out there that people might be tempted to cut up and burn when they reach end of life.
People in this area of the US seem pretty clued-up about not burning treated stuff, but I suspect that's not the case country-wide.
cheers
Jules
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On Mon, 10 May 2010 13:26:48 +0100, Dave Osborne wrote:

Some possibilities spring to mind. - yer average hom. sap. lives long enough (now that predation from sabre-toothed tigers is on the decrease) that _prolonged_ exposure to smoke has a measurable effect on the death rate, and not in a good way.
The high living densities we have now means that if everyone did it, we'd all look more like kippers than people.
All the whingers used to be turned into sacrifices for the gods when they becoame too vociferous. Now they go on telly or write newspaper articles.
BTW, A staggering proportion of the population still have no access to electricity. Figures vary from < 500M to > 1.6B depending on what agenda the authors are pushing.
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Once upon a time everyone did do it: that's where all the trees went; until we discovered coal... and we've just got some trees back; in time for 'greens' to start using wood again! With a population that is 12 times the size!
S
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spamlet wrote:

yeah. Not far wrong. we used to use windmills as well.

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pete wrote:

That was what was behind teh clean air acts.
Everybody did it. Oil was only used as a transport fuel in the 50s and all heating was by coal, or by coal gas. Coal gas was formed from heating and IIRC slaking coal. It produced nearly as much pollution as burning coal did.
Never mind steam trains as well. Smuts all over your washing.

Quite right too. Would ruin the internet bandwidth if they ALL had computers.
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They aren't all of a sudden - they've always been bad for us. It's still a significant cause of ill health and death in the 3rd world, just like it has been for a quarter of a million years. Most severely affected in each family is the person who cooks the food on such a fire, spending most time near it.
--
Andrew Gabriel
[email address is not usable -- followup in the newsgroup]
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wrote:

The answer given is quite right. You can only burn smokeless fuel in a smoke control area or use an 'exempt' appliance. The exempt appliances (see HETAS approved list) are gasifiers which should emit little/no smoke once at the operating temperature. You can also apply for a specific exemption since many local authorities have designated their entire areas to be smoke control areas.
On 10 May, 15:26, snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:

As stated by another above, they've always been pretty bad because of a fundamental design flaw.
The wood is 80% volatile organic compounds (VOCs) & 20% carbon (charcoal); when heated, the volatile compounds are emitted as gas and tars which can be burned, if there is a secondary air supply above the fire bed. In an open fire, they aren't burned and are emitted as smoke (unburned fuel) or condense in the flue as tars. You could also heat the wood to drive off the VOC gas and use it to run your car or whatever, as done during WW2.
You need about 600 degC (I think) to burn the VOCs. The airflow through a fire is generated by convection so the air passes through the glowing embers (charcoal) and then through the hot wood, carrying the VOC vapours away from the heat which would burn them to CO2 and water vapour. It's really a bad design, the airflow goes the wrong way.
Most/all of the 'green' boilers being promoted now are gasifiers, often downflow; they will emit no more smoke, when at operating temperature, than a gas or oil boiler and have efficiencies in the high 80s (I think).
Much of the 3rd world still cooks and heats with open wood fires, so they're collecting 3 or 4 times as more wood than an efficient stove would need. have a Google for "wood stoves" and you'll see what I mean.
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On second thoughts, that brings up a mound of adverts for cheap grey cast iron wood stoves (that are expensive).
Try Googling for:- wood stoves " third world" for more relevant stuff, this for example;
http://www.journeytoforever.org/at_woodfire.html
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<snip>
You snipped the bit about when it is not a smoke control area.
I just looked up my local area (Suffolk Coastal District Council) and there are no smoke control areas.
Massive lack of detail in the original report, but given that the workshop was built under planning control that would have encompassed smoke control if applicable.
I suspect that if smoke was being generated in a 'smokeless zone' then there would have been no need to write to the paper for advice.
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David WE Roberts wrote:

I asked the local council about this some years ago:
"I have been advised by our legal services that the records are not clear and enforcing them could be open to legal challenge in some cases. The Council is not therefore enforcing these provisions."
Andy
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wrote:

Not being devious, I'm not Drivel. I just leave the first few lines to indicate what I'm replying to.

Great; old tyres, mattresses and pallets are fine then.

Not necessarily; most people don't know about smoke control, have never had any need to know and have never burnt anything other than natural gas. As to whether it's a smoke control zone, a non-exempt stove is being used, non-approved fuel or whether the building control officer missed the requirements for the stove, we shall never care.
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Onetap wrote:

No: those can be handled under a general nuisance legislation.

Indeed.
Few woodburners are 'smokeless' - only industrial scale high temperature furnaces fit that bill.
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wrote:

You should try to see a top of the range gasiffier boiler running, they have lamba sensors ( as in car exhaust systems) and automatic adjustment of the primary and secondary air ratios and volumes to minimize smoke and emissions. You'd see no visible emissions other than the heat haze.
Most 'exempt' solid-fuel appliances are obviously less complicated but are regarded as smokeless for the purposes of the smoke control legislation.
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Andrew Gabriel wrote:

2 billion, 1/3 of the population, are still reckoned to cook on biomass fires.
Acute respiratory infections are still the biggest cause of child death, particulates from wood/dung cooking fires are highly implicated. That young children may be carried by mother whilst cooking may be a reason for high exposure.
AJH
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andrew wrote:

No, its infant diarrhoea, and the odd starvation.
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