Also discussed here: Wood-Burning Stoves: Harmful or Safe? (Science Daily, Jan. 16, 2012)
And here: Guidebook Effective and environmentally friendly firing of firewood ( 8 page pdf, Edvard Karlsvik, SINTEF Energy Research, Norway and Heikki Oravainen, VTT, Finland, EU-project Quality Wood, )
As we reach the depth of winter’s cold in northern climates, today’s focus is on some timely research from Norway that examines the combustion conditions of wood burning stoves that affect emissions and the resulting health impacts. Recommendations include using dry (not wet) wood and modern stoves that ensure complete combustion.
”The physical and chemical properties of particulate matter from wood-burning have great influence on how these particles may affect our health. Worsening of cardiovascular diseases and respiratory diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are the main concerns,”
“Particulate matter from different sources has different physical and chemical properties, and several factors are important when we study their health effects:
- Chemical composition - some metals and organic substances are more harmful to the cells in our bodies than others.
- Solubility - water soluble particles will dissolve easily in the lung lining fluid and be removed from the lungs.
- Size - particle size determines the deposition rate and probability in our lungs. In addition, the smallest particles have a larger surface per mass unit, providing a larger area for interaction with the cells in our lungs”
“Particles from complete combustion (salts) seem to have the least effect on lung cells in culture and are removed most quickly from the lungs.. emissions are reduced by improved combustion conditions and that we are thus exposed to smaller amounts of particles when new stoves are used”
“with a high burning rates, the particle emissions can easily increase 10 times with a high moisture content (above 20 %)”
“with a low burning rate, the particle emissions can easily increase to 30 times with a high moisture content (above 20 %)”