Yes

We know the answer here:

Government to investigate whether wood-burning stoves damage people’s health

It’s really not a question we’re unsure of the answer of.

Of course, that they damage the health of those who use them doesn’t mean anything at all, no reason for action at least. That they damage the health of those downwind of them might well be though.

26 comments on “Yes

  1. How wonderful!

    It is often (in my experience) those that wave their hands in front of their face at the sight of a smoker sparking up that will burn hundreds of kilos of wood in their lounge and comment on how wonderful the smell is!

    Second-hand wood smoke anybody?

  2. I read once of a 7-star hotel which had wood-burners in the suites. And a menu of the types of wood you could choose.
    At the other end of the scale are the 3 million estimated dead yearly caused by wood fires in the poorest parts of the world.
    I am assuming these last will be ignored.

  3. Why are they spending money on this research?

    Everyone knows that cigarettes are the work of the devil and lethal, but wood is a natural substance and burning it to keep warm is a wonderful thing and much better than evil fossil fuels.

  4. “that they damage the health of those who use them doesn’t mean anything at all”: will nobody think of the children?

  5. “those that wave their hands in front of their face at the sight of a smoker sparking up that will burn hundreds of kilos of wood in their lounge and comment on how wonderful the smell is!”

    And, of course, light candles & every opportunity. And even burn incense or scented oils..

  6. If they ban their use they’ll have Mrs BiND on the warpath. She insisted we replace our old log burner earlier this year as the old one was cracked and not being used.

  7. Barbecue. Don’t forget the barbecue. Standing there with smoke pouring off the meat, loading it with carcinogens while sounding off about 2nd hand smoke.

    I don’t actually give a fuck, but it’s nice to see the hypocrites in action.

  8. Second-hand wood smoke (BiC). I like it. I’ve three wood stoves, at least one of which burns (almost) continuously for 340 days/year. Have read a little about the downside to personal health and have accepted the risk – given the alternative is to freeze. I imagine 100% of my neighbours burn wood, that’s not including the gypsies hiding out in the nearby woods. Would estimate >15% of the neighbourhood earn a living from cutting/supplying wood, manufacturing and installing wood stoves, sweeping chimneys, or putting out house fires caused by said stoves.

  9. “At the other end of the scale are the 3 million estimated dead yearly caused by wood fires in the poorest parts of the world.”

    Got some names for us?

    The number is completely made up.

  10. @Gamecock
    If there’s any truth in the estimates for cigarette smoking causing deaths, it’s probably a conservative estimate. There really is no difference between breathing tobacco smoke & any other vegetable matter. And a lot of the 3rd world doesn’t have stoves & chimneys. Just a hearth. And they burn anything flammable. Wood, composites, plastic…

  11. “And they burn anything flammable. Wood, composites, plastic…”

    Blah. Blah. Blah. The number is still made up.

  12. Its a qustion of population density of course.

    If every fucker in london kept jack frost at bay by cutting down the trees in hyde park and burning them in his sitting room there’d be a problem.

    My nearets neighbour is half a mile away down the hill and I am surrounded by free firewood. I’d be a cunt not to use it.

  13. Maybe, Mr Gamecock, I see the matter from a slightly different perspective. I grew up during the London smogs. Can remember them so thick, you lost site of both pavements crossing the road. They killed thousands. Nearly killed me. Mother used to tie a handkerchief over my mouth & nose before we went out & it’d be black before we got home. Coughing up shit for hours afterwards. And Londoners were burning coal in reasonably efficient fireplaces & boilers & not so much cooking with it.. Burning wood’s much more polluting. Lot of incomplete combustion. And like I said, the 3rd world poor burn a lot of nasty crap as well. Get dioxins etc.
    Simply providing them with decent efficient stoves for cooking would reduce wood consumption & vastly reduce pollution.

    That said. I paid for a firewood delivery last week. In Colombia

  14. — “At the other end of the scale are the 3 million estimated dead yearly caused by wood fires in the poorest parts of the world.”

    I believe the figure comes from the Global Burden of Disease study. It’s in The Lancet which obviously doesn’t help its credibility, however the deleterious effects of cooking smoke are real and severe. http://www.thelancet.com/gbd

    To prevent such deaths and attendant misery, and to help people claw their way out of grinding poverty, what’s needed is cheap electricity, which means coal-fired power stations: which they must be denied according to the Green Einsatzgruppen.

  15. “To prevent such deaths and attendant misery, and to help people claw their way out of grinding poverty, what’s needed is cheap electricity”

    Colonialism is not nice.

  16. i understand how burning wood contributes to downwind air pollution generally (as does burning coal, or burning natural gas, or burning anything that isnt hydrogen)

    and burning a log in an open fireplace inevitably leads to some pollutants in the house (if only that pleasant fireplace smell)

    but burning wood in a stove? behind sealed glass doors (or steel doors if industrial style and not decorative style, stove)?

    surely, the draft of such a stove (especially “independent outdoor air pipe draft” style stoves) means the smoke goes up the chimney and never gets in the house (at least thats the way it worked in my boyhood lake sunappee cabin)

  17. The thing is – we *already* know the answer to both those questions.

    ‘It depends on what type of woodburning stove your using and what pollution control measures you have installed’.

    We absolutely know that a simple wood-burning stove damages both your own health and the health of those downwind. Because its spewing combustion products out like a factory chimney. Or a car.

    10 million chimney’s spewing out smoke in a crowded city every winter’s night has been known to damage health for as long as there have been cities.

    The important question – the one that these people won’t ask both because they don’t want you to think about things in this light and because they can’t ever get an answer – is; what are the tradeoffs?

    Freeze to death overnight or run the risk that grandma will contract terminal pneumonia? Then the slight damage that running that stove will do could well be worth it. And sometimes its not.

    It depends.

  18. I loathe logburners, a hideous modern affectation that seems to infest every tv show doing makeovers lately.

    Agreed.

    When we came to Cyprus in 2002 diesel was as cheap as cheap stuff and everybody heated their homes with it.

    Post EU membership *spits*, diesel became much more expensive and people installed wood burners (and bought chainsaws).

    There is no doubt IMHO that air quality in winter is poorer now than it was before.

    You only have to compare the shite around the top of a wood burning chimney to that of a diesel powered boiler to see how much cleaner burning ‘dirty’ diesel was…

    Well done EU!

  19. PS

    When my house was completed in 2004 they fitted gas-fired central heating.

    However, there is no mains gas in Cyprus so it is fuelled from a LPG tank in the garden.

    When it runs out a tanker drives from Larnaca (an hour and a half away) to re-fill it. Go figure.

  20. Burning diesel (or in the UK paraffin) in a well-maintained domestic boiler is a pretty clean process. The temperatures are far lower than in a diesel engine (where the design combustion temperature has been continually increasing in search of greater efficiency and fewer carbons), so no NOx is produced.

  21. Gove is specifically targetting burning wet wood that creates lots of smoke.
    Personally I fail to understand why anybody should want to burn wet wood – when I found a lot of the contents of my then woodstore was wet I dried out wood behind the stove one night before burning it the next (and built a new woodshed the following summer).
    Seems a fairly simple low-cost way of reducing pollution, albeit probably does less to do so than “Boris bikes”.

  22. @john77
    All wood burnt in a stove or fireplace is wet. Wood’s hygroscopic. Broadly speaking, it’ll have the same moisture content as the long term atmospheric humidity.

  23. @ bis
    Not in the normal meaning of “wet”. If I said “damp” would you think that meant the same water content as the atmosphere indoors (or outside on a dry day)?

  24. @ Bloke in Cyprus
    Ah well, now you’re asking how it will work, which is not yet revealed….
    I suspect a lot of high-sounding speeches and a reliance on our high moral values plus a fear that our neighbours might sneak on us if they start choking on oursmoke

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