[Gasification] Wood heating in the UK - whole log gasification

David david at h4c.org
Sat Dec 28 10:28:50 CST 2013


On 12/28/2013 12:57 AM, Jason wrote:
> PS. I have one aquaintance in New Zealand that is challenging the 
> science around respiratory disease and emissions from wood smoke. He 
> says the link is tenuous and the early bogus studies keep getting 
> repeated and used as justification to ban wood stoves. 

Water is necessary for life and too much can drown you. Similarly with 
some things, a little can be of benefit. I recall a study of 
woodcutters that showed they had increased resistance to colds, and 
this was attributed to intermittent exposure to wood smoke. On the 
other hand, the WHO says that 1.6 million people die every year from 
exposure to indoor air pollution, i.e. also (for the most part) wood 
smoke. (Coal smoke is far more deadly.) The epidemiology is pretty 
well established.

The term of art is hormesis, for which wikipedia offers the definition:

    Hormesis is the generally favorable biological response to low
    exposures to toxins and other stressors. A pollutant or toxin
    showing hormesis thus has the opposite effect in small doses as in
    large doses. ...


As far as the most common contributors to air pollution, it may end up 
that airborne particulate matter of a certain size range, particularly 
where the makeup of the particles includes irritants leading to 
inflammation, will be seen to be most at fault for negative impacts on 
health. Not wood smoke, exactly, in other words, but some things found 
in wood smoke, may well be identified as the key bad actors. That 
would be my current best guess, where I am solidly grounded in nearly 
perfect ignorance.

It may be hard to get around the better safe than sorry approach that 
many might be inclined to take. The future promises to have more 
regulation, from almost any point of view.

David William House
"The Complete Biogas Handbook" |www.completebiogas.com |
/Vahid Biogas/ , an alternative energy consultancy |www.vahidbiogas.com

"Make no search for water.   But find thirst,
And water from the very ground will burst."
(Rumi, a Persian mystic poet, quoted in /Delight of Hearts/ , p. 77)


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