Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Open Air Burning and COPD (To Council, #4)

You probably know someone who is suffering from COPD; more than 10% of Canadians over the age of 35 are living with it.

Wood smoke can cause COPD, precipitate flare-ups, and lead to death.
Here’s what the Lung Association has to say:

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a lung disease that includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
In 80-90% of cases, it is caused by smoking. Other causes of COPD can include:
  • genetic reasons (alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency)
  • occupational dusts and chemicals
  • second hand smoke
  • frequent lung infections as a child
  • wood smoke and other biomass (animal dung, crop residues) fuel used for cooking.
Breathing in wood smoke can cause increased respiratory symptoms, increased hospital admissions, exacerbation of asthma and COPD, and decreased your ability to breathe normally. If you have a lung disease, breathing in wood smoke can make your disease worse and cause a flare-up.
PM2.5 (inhalable particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter) - PM2.5, which consists of a mixture of microscopic particles of varied size and composition, has been declared a toxic substance under the Environmental Protection Act. These particles can be inhaled deep into the lungs, leading to serious respiratory problems, including excess mortality, especially among those with pre-existing cardiopulmonary illness.

So we can add COPD to our growing list of health problems (cancer, diabetes, heart attacks) linked to PM2.5 and wood burning.

How can Woodstock Council justify the practice of open air burning?

The above text was sent by e-mail to each member of Council on July 18, 2018.

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