The Alberni Air Quality Society will be visiting neighbourhoods this week, door to door, with a woodstove usage survey in hopes of getting a better understanding of wood heating appliance usage and perceptions of air quality.
According to a press release from the society, health researchers have been looking at the effects of woodsmoke on people since the 1980s and a growing number of studies are finding the same thing.
Children living in homes with woodstoves are more likely to have shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, asthma attacks, disrupted sleep, inflamed respiratory tracts and pneumonia. Anyone with heart or lung conditions, especially older people, are also more at risk. Breathing in smoky air can make symptoms worse.
Levels of the fine particles from woodsmoke go up during the winter in the Alberni Valley, states the press release. These levels of fine particulate matter in the Valley have been found to exceed the provincial objectives up to 40 per cent of the time during the coldest months of the year. The cumulative impacts of many sources of wood smoke can result in degraded air quality within a neighbourhood.
Anywhere from 40 to 70 per cent of the pollution in the air outside a home ends up indoors. Using a certified HEPA air filter can help reduce indoor levels of fine particulates. If you use a woodstove, Alberni’s Air Quality Society urges people to burn only dry wood; collect the wood in the spring, stack it outdoors and let it dry throughout the summer. In addition, make sure to do proper upkeep and maintenance including checking chimneys and door seals.
Canvassers will be giving away free moisture meters.