EPA Wood Stove Ban Designed To Reduce Airborne Fine Particles

Tara Dodrill

Wood burning stoves may soon be a thing of the past. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is banning many varieties of the popular rural heating sources. The EPA wants to halt the production and sale of the types of stoves used by approximately 80 percent of the homes that heat at least partially with wood.The regulations limit the amount of "airborne fine-particle matter" to 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air. The current EPA regulations allow for 15 micrograms in the same amount of air space.

Most of the wood stoves currently nestled inside cabins and homes from coast-to-coast don't meet the new environmental standard. The EPA launched the Burn Wise website to help convince the public that the new regulations were needed. According to a Washington Times review of the wood stove ban, the most dangerous aspect of the EPA proposed guidelines is the one-size-fits-all approach to the perceived problem.

The same wood burning stove rules would apply to both heavily air-pollution laden major cities and far cleaner rural regions with extremely cooler temperatures. Families living in Alaska, or off the grid in wilderness area in the West, will most likely have extreme difficulty remaining in their cold, secluded homes if the EPA wood stove rules are enacted as written.

A statement about the wood stove ban on the EPA website reads:

Replacing an older stove with a cleaner-burning stove will not improve air quality if the older stove is reused somewhere else. For this reason, wood stove change out programs usually require older stoves to be destroyed and recycled as scrap metal, or rendered inoperable.

The stated goal of the EPA Burn Wise program is to educate both local governmental agencies and citizens about the need for more "cleaner-burning" in the marketplace. Three of the most recent highlighted articles and webinars on the EPA Burn Wise website include details about a voluntary wood burning fireplace program, strategies for reducing residential wood some in state, tribal, and local communities, and a recording entitled, "Reducing Residential Wood Some: Is it Worth it?"

The Washington Times also reported that wood burning stoves put less airborne fine-particle manner in the air than is present from secondhand some in a closed vehicle. When an individual smokes inside a car with the windows up, passengers are reportedly exposed to approximately 4,000 micrograms of soot per cubic meter.

Alaska State Representative Tammie Wilson had this to say about the EPA wood stove ban during an interview with the Associated Press:

Everybody wants clean air. We just have to make sure that we can also heat our homes. Rather than fret over EPA's computer-model-based warning about the dangers of inhaling soot from wood smoke, residents have more pressing concerns on their minds such as the immediate risk of freezing when the mercury plunges.

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