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Welcome to Yolo Clean Air...
Yolo Clean Air is a
Join Our Current Flagship Campaign...Reducing Wintertime Particulate Pollution by up to 50% by Ending the Use of Wood-Burning Fireplaces and Appliances
Frequent asthma attacks, recurring bronchitis that won't go away, respiratory failures leading to hospitalization, children needing inhalers just to get through the school day...these incidents are becoming common, everyday occurrences in the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys from Redding to Bakersfield.
We know that particulate matter in air pollution causes or can induce these respiratory problems especially in our susceptible populations - seniors and children And we know that residential wood burning in the winter months with stagnant weather can increase particulate matter in neighborhood air to well above Federal air quality standards. Reducing this excessive pollution produced by residential wood-burning fireplaces and appliances is just one area in which simple behavioral changes (i.e. not using wood-burning fireplaces, stoves, or inserts) can dramatically reduce airborne pollution without changing the real quality of life in our region. Indeed, the Sacramento Air Quality Management District estimates that 50% or more of wintertime particulate pollution is caused by wood smoke from residential wood-burning.
Since it has been clearly established by many that using natural gas or electricity is a more economical choice than burning purchased firewood to provide home heat, curtailing the use of residential wood-burning for home heating in urban areas would not cause any economic harm to the vast majority of consumers. And the social benefits in terms of decreased acute care health costs during winter months could be enormous.
Restricting the use of wood-burning for home-heating may seem to be a radical solution to some homeowners and, having loved our own fireplaces in the not too distant past, we do understand the warm feeling that everybody gets when they think of cozy evenings in front of a blazing fire when there is a real chill outside. Unfortunately, that same warm fire everyone enjoys so much inside is also dumping pounds of toxic particulate pollutants into the immediate neighborhood outside air and choking residents with respiratory problems for blocks around. We simply believe that the respiratory health of all of our seniors and youth is too great of a sacrifice to make for the sake of a little ambiance or short-term enjoyment one gets from their wood-burning fireplaces and stoves.
Note that we are NOT advocating restrictions against the use of any natural gas or propane-fueled fireplaces or heaters as they produce only a very small fraction of the pollution produced by their wood-burning counterparts. We also support exceptions for wood-burning appliances designed and used solely for cooking and where there is no other home heating alternative economically available.
Please read more about this growing air quality problem in our website and join us to make the air cleaner for all residents of Yolo Co. At minimum, think a little more about it before you light up your woodstove or fireplace on the next quiet, frosty evening. Please make sure there is a wind speed of at least 6 mph or more (the tree branches should be swaying) to properly disperse the smoke. Otherwise, the warm and comfortable feeling you get by lounging in front of your toasty fireplace may not be shared by the poor kid from 2 blocks away that can barely breathe because of an acute asthma attack induced by your pollution.
Alan Pryor, Director
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