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What if we treated air pollution from burning (wood, coal, coffee, garbage) as a public health issue?

My Road, Moose Creek 1/27/2016 at 2 pm

My Road, Moose Creek 1/27/2016 at 2 pm [Click for link to a child’s asthma attack.]

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Report: Preventable Deaths from PM2.5 Air Pollution in Fairbanks, AK, 2014

According to a recent study, fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution is associated with an 11.5 to 23.5 percent increased number of deaths in Fairbanks, Alaska. The higher end of the range applies to areas with higher PM2.5 concentrations, such as North Pole, Alaska. Each year, an estimated 50 to 101 deaths in the Fairbanks North Star Borough are associated with PM2.5 air pollution. Reducing ambient PM2.5 concentrations and ambient exposure would prevent these premature deaths.

This study is the first to associate PM2.5 with increased mortalities for the Fairbanks area.

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The cancer agency of the World Health Organization, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC),  announced yesterday it has classified outdoor air pollution as:

Carcinogenic to Humans (Group 1)

The IARC concluded there is “sufficient evidence that exposure to outdoor air pollution causes lung cancer.”

According to Dr Kurt Straif, Head of the IARC Monographs Section, “We now know that outdoor air pollution is not only a major risk to health in general, but also a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths.”

Other agents classified by IARC as Group 1 carcinogens include Arsenic, Asbestos, Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1, Particulate matter in outdoor air pollution, Plutonium, Radium, and Tobacco smoking, and Second-hand tobacco smoke.

Read more:

WHO IARC Press Release 10/17/2013

World Health Organization: Air pollution causes lung cancer WCPO Cincinnati 10/17/2013

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  Utah Physicians for a Health Environment on Facebook!

NORTH SALT LAKE —Dr. Brian Moench, president of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, said the science is solid that wood smoke is extremely toxic, even more than cigarette smoke.

“We need the community to understand that wood burning is a public health hazard any time of the year and we simply need to phase it out, just like we did smoking in public places and for exactly the same reasons.”

“And it’s as big a contributor to our air pollution as all our cars,” he said. “We are not going to solve our air pollution problem without getting much stricter on prohibiting wood burning.”

The group gave a presentation Wednesday afternoon at the Utah Air Quality monthly board meeting. Members are asking the board to endorse the idea of phasing out all non-essential wood burning in non-attainment counties.

Source: Utah doctors propose eliminating use of wood burning stoves 10/2/2013 Standard Examiner

SALT LAKE CITY — Just as smoking cigarettes in an enclosed public place is harmful and no longer legal, a group of physicians said burning wood or coal in a fireplace or stove is a practice that has come and should go — especially in regions where Utah struggles with air quality.

“It is long overdue that we consider putting wood smoke into the community airshed as inappropriate,” said Dr. Brian Moench, president of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment.

“Wood smoke is an extremely toxic, public health hazard,” he said, pointing to Environmental Protection Agency numbers that show lifetime exposure to wood smoke is 12 times greater than being exposed to the equivalent amount of secondhand smoke.

Moench is going to make the case against what he calls the “air pollution elephant in the room” Wednesday to the Utah Air Quality Board during its regular monthly meeting.

Source: Physicians group targets fireplaces and fuel burning stoves 10/1/2013 Deseret News

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The Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute has been given a $970,979 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to study the effects of indoor pollution caused by using wood-burning cooking stoves.

For more on the study, see: LRRI receives Gates Foundation grant to study wood stove smoke 6/21/2013 Albuquerque Business First.

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“We have young children and elders that have respiratory problems. And this will hopefully help mitigate, clean-up, and eliminate our PM 2.5 air quality problem in Fairbanks.”

—Alaska Senator Click Bishop – Senate C

Senator Bishop means well, but we have these problems with his way of thinking:

  • Every resident is more at risk from elevated PM 2.5, not just young children and elders.
  • Fine particulate pollution causes cardiovascular harm — including strokes, heart attacks, arrhythmia, atherosclerosis, and congestive heart failure — cancers, and increased risk of premature death. Respiratory harms include lung infections, reduced lung development (in children), pulmonary inflammation, and asthma attacks.
  • Offer a bill to give the state citation authority to protect residents from air pollution violators. As it is, the state cannot ticket air pollution violators, instead they can only be taken to court one-by-one. Imagine the years of legal action needed to stop a drunk driver without citation authority.
  • Residents are making decisions NOW to remove themselves and their families from the air pollution threat. Waiting a year or longer for a gas trucking to “hopefully help“, does nothing to address the present danger to life and safety today.

Help straighten out Senator Click Bishop’s thinking:

<Senator.Click.Bishop@akleg.gov>

>> Link: KUAC Newscast with Dan Bross: Thursday 03/14/13 2:38-3:00; story on SB 23: $355 million financing to private industry for gas trucking from Prudhoe to Fairbanks.

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3614 Laurance Rd, Fairbanks, Alaska on Feb 14, 2013 05.53 pm

3614 Laurance Rd, Fairbanks, Alaska on Feb 14, 2013 05.53 pm

3614 Laurance Rd, North Pole, Alaska on Feb 14 2013

3614 Laurance Rd, North Pole, Alaska on Feb 14 2013

From: Krystal Francesco (Laurance Road, North Pole) [requested name be published]
Date: Thu, Feb 14, 2013 at 10:17 PM
Subject: Boiler/Hydronic heater in North Pole
To: (60 DEC and borough agency staff, elected and appointed leaders and others – see below)

Hello,

I have attached pictures of a potential coal burning boiler/hydronic heater.  Maybe some of you can shed light on what this really is.  I can tell you what it smells like — pure toxic waste.  This is located at 3614 Laurance Road, also known as the Kids of the Kingdom Learning Center, an in-home daycare.  Not only is it horrible they could potentially be burning coal, but they’re doing it around young kids.  Driving toward it, the smell got so strong I had to hit the “re-circulate” button in my car so I wasn’t struggling to breathe.  Whatever I was smelling, it was NOT any kind of wood smell.  I can’t say I know what burning coal smells like…but I know I couldn’t stand to breathe the air around this contraption.

The other dilemma is the height of the smoke stack — it’s not even on top of the roof, so the smoke is easily able to drift into other houses surrounding the area when there is a breeze.  I strongly believe this is one of the main reasons my family (myself, my mother and my daughter) are on inhalers day and night.  Tonight, oddly enough, my daughter is beginning to show signs of labored breathing…I can’t tell you how many times this has been so far.  Her heartbeat is fast while resting, and her stomach is moving in and out at a speed faster than normal.  This is after using her inhalers and allergy medicine, which she uses EVERY day and night.

Something needs to be done about those who use machines like this, who burn coal especially.  Do the research, it’s clear the fumes from burning coal is horrible to peoples’ health.  Some might think they can “burn clean,” but that’s an oxymoron.  There’s no way you can burn coal responsibly, or without dire consequences over time.  I’ve heard of people saying “well, I don’t see smoke coming out of my smoke stack so that means I’m burning clean.”  But have they actually tested the air quality around their house??  Probably not.

For my family’s sake, my 2.5 year old daughter’s health, please…we need to take action to shut down machines like this that are spewing toxic waste into the air we breathe.

Krystal Francesco

Sent to:

governor@alaska.gov,
larry.hartig@alaska.gov,
william.streur@alaska.gov,
mike.hanley@alaska.gov,
marit.carlson-van.dort@alaska.gov,
alice.edwards@alaska.gov,
john.kuterbach@alaska.gov,
moses.coss@alaska.gov,
robin.wagner@alaska.gov,
andrew.mohrmann@alaska.gov,
claudia.thompson@alaska.gov,
representative.david.guttenberg@akleg.gov,
representative.scott.kawasaki@akleg.gov,
representative.steve.thompson@akleg.gov,
representative.tammie.wilson@akleg.gov,
representative.pete.higgins@akleg.gov,
representative.doug.isaacson@akleg.gov,
senator.john.coghill@akleg.gov,
senator.lyman.hoffman@akleg.gov,
senator.click.bishop@akleg.gov,
senator.pete.kelly@akleg.gov,
airquality@co.fairbanks.ak.us,
mayor@fnsb.us,
gmiller@co.fairbanks.ak.us,
jconner@fnsb.us,
tthompson@fnsb.us,
assembly@co.fairbanks.ak.us,
dhutchison@fsnb.us,
nhoward@fsnb.us,
mdukes@fsnb.us,
gsattley@fnsb.us,
jdavies@fnsb.us,
kkassel@fnsb.us,
vlawrence@fnsb.us,
kdodge@fnsb.us,
lroberts@fnsb.us,
ffcfc@uaf.edu,
fflkd@uaf.edu,
djrinio@alaska.edu,
gwen.holdmann@alaska.edu,
mark@shermanengr.com,
khook@doyonutilities.com,
r10administrator-mclerran@epa.gov,
edmondson.lucy@epa.gov,
tom_moyer@begich.senate.gov,
althea_stmartin@murkowski.senate.gov,
jcleworth@ci.fairbanks.ak.us,
bwgatewood@ci.fairbanks.ak.us,
jmatherly@ci.fairbanks.ak.us,
ljhilling@ci.fairbanks.ak.us,
jseberhart@ci.fairbanks.ak.us,
citycouncilseata@ci.fairbanks.ak.us,
citycouncilseatb@ci.fairbanks.ak.us,
mayor@northpolealaska.com,
dnelson@northpolealaska.com,
msikma@northpolealaska.com,
tmcghee@northpolealaska.com,
shunter@northpolealaska.com,
rholm@northpolealaska.com,
psmith@northpolealaska.com
carrie@dershin.com

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