American Lung Association Worried About Biomass Incineration
Below are excerpts from a Dec. 14, 2010 letter by Rebecca L. Ryan, Director of Health Promotion and Public Policy for American Lung Association in Vermont, to the Vermont State Legislature’s Biomass Energy Development Working Group (As reported in the Biomass Busters Feb 2011 Newsletter)
“Burning wood, like burning any substance, releases toxic chemicals and particles which affect the environment and respiratory health. In particular, biomass emissions contain fine particulate matter, sulfur oxides, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and various irritant gases such as nitrogen oxides that can scar the lungs. Like cigarettes, biomass emissions can also contain chemicals that are known or suspected to be carcinogens, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and dioxin.
For vulnerable populations, such as people with asthma, chronic respiratory disease, and those with cardiovascular disease, biomass emissions are particularly harmful. Even short exposures can prove deadly. A growing number of studies are pointing to the direct impact of increased particle pollution levels and an increase in heart attacks. The health impact of particle pollution is not limited to individuals with pre-existing conditions.
The ALA believes that we cannot afford to trade our health to meet our energy needs. We strongly support rapid movement towards clean, safe and renewable energy to protect our environment and the air we breathe.”
Read more about this and other issues in the Biomass Busters Feb 2011 Newsletter
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