Burning Issues

Earlier findings by Omni Environmental Services, Inc., who prepared a report in 1988 for the U.S. Dept. of Energy included tables of estimated numbers of wood smoke deaths and cancer victims from their biomass energy program (Greene, 1988). The numbers were based on an analysis of a five state region of AK, ID, MT,OR, and WA plan to reduce smoke by 5 to 45% by various programs of stove certification, catalytic converters, moratorium on new stove installations, and education. (The authors did not provide an estimate for the number of lives that would be saved by stopping wood heating.) Additional caveats: at the time of the report the EPA had not yet reported their failure in smoke reduction from wood burning for home energy; population has increased dramatically in some of these states and would expose even more people now and would increase the number of homes and stoves.
Cost/Benefit Analysis of Mitigation Measures For Minimizing Environmental Impacts of Residential Wood Combustion, Task F, Final Report
DOE/BP/18508--7, DE89 001553
Wood Smoke control strategy

Estimated Emission




Estimated Red. In Average population Exposure to Wood Smoke Particulate


Estimated Reduction in deaths from Particulate Exposure


Estimated Reduction in Work Loss Days


Estimated Reduction in Reduced Activity (Days/Year)

Estimated Reduction in Cancer Deaths


1. Only certified low-emission stove are sold or permitted 30% 1.59 61.1 saved lives 376,500 more work days 1,343,900 12.1 saved lives
2. #1. With 33% tax credits 40% 2.12 81.4 saved lives 502,000 1,791,800 16.1 saved lives
3.Replace or shut down old stove within 3 years; & 70% tax credits 45% 2.39 91.8 saved lives 564.950 2,020,000 18.2 saved lives
4. Moratorium on new stove installations 10% 0.53 20.4 saved lives 125,500 448,000 4 saved lives
5. Stove sizing education 5% 0.27 10.4 saved lives 63,900 228,200 2 saved lives
6. Free catalytic add-on/retrofit devices for stove 45% 2.39 91.8 saved lives 565,950 2,020,000 18.2 saved lives
7. Catalytic add-on/retrofit devices required; & 70% tax credit 40% 2.12 81.4 saved lives 502,000 1,791,800 16.1 saved lives
8. New stove installations are permitted; fees are set in proportion to emission rates 30% 1.59 61.1 saved lives 376,500 1,343,900 12.1 saved lives

Prepared by Wm. T. Greene, Omni Environmental Services, Inc.,
Prepared for U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE), Pacific NW and Alaska Regional Biomass Energy Program, c/o Bonneville Power Administration, Portland, OR, Contract #: DE-AC79-85BP18508, June 1988


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