Responding to concerns over wood-burning appliance pollution, scientists with the Utah Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Air Quality (DAQ) recently conducted a study of toxic pollutants and fine particle pollution in wood smoke. Using a $70,000 appropriation from the 2015 Utah Legislature, the scientists tracked a unique trace chemical, levoglucosan, to measure how much wood-burning is playing a part in pollution.
Analyzed samples of fine particulate matter from areas in the north of the state that are in noncompliance with U.S. EPA’s fine particulate matter air quality standards showed that emissions from wood-burning appliances in homes contribute to an appreciable amount of pollution in the sampled areas, even during mandatory no-burn periods.
As a result of the study, the DAQ is now advertising its findings and EPA’s BurnWise program for tips on more efficient wood-burning, and plans to study the impact of the wood-stove change-out program on reducing air pollution levels. More information can be found here.