Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Reply to Connie Lauder

Hello Councillor Lauder
Thank you for your reply to my concerns.

I am not asking you, or city staff, to waste time in analyzing other municipalities' motivations for allowing or not allowing open air burning.

I am asking you to apply your intellect to the issue.

There are TWO public safety concerns related to open air burning:  1) fire safety; 2) air quality.  The former has been apparent to mankind since fire first was tamed; the latter has become apparent only in recent years, but is now well documented.

Oxford County Public Health lists the pollutants produced when wood is burned, and some of the health effects, followed by the recommendation: Do not burn wood:

The Lung Association has posted an expert opinion on residential wood burning:

The Government of Ontario informs us about fine particulate matter:

and provides us with the Air Quality Health Index:

The Government of Canada tells us to avoid wood smoke:

The Public Health Agency of Canada warns those with chronic respiratory diseases:

Ultimately there is one question: is it safe to breathe wood smoke?
The answer is a resounding NO.

It's just like second-hand tobacco smoke.  Our society protects us from smokers in stores, workplaces, airplanes, trains, buses, restaurants, bars (even on patios!), but it is legal here in Woodstock for my neighbours to light a fire and fill my home (MY NON-SMOKING HOME!) with smoke.

To conclude: rather than researching other cities' bylaws, perhaps staff could attempt to find some reputable sources that would assure us that it is safe for all residents (including newborns, active toddlers, seniors with heart problems, and those of any age who suffer from COPD, asthma, or allergies) to be inhaling wood smoke?
If such sources can't be found, we should not be burning wood in backyards.

Thank you for your attention to this.

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