Australia: regulatory failure and lack of stove replacements costing lives and money

An article from Australia, “Wood heaters: lung cancer risk equivalent to passive smoking” highlights the failure of programs that emphasize upgrading to better stoves and educating people on burning.

“There is no evidence that Australia’s main strategies of ‘public education on heater operation’ or gradual tightening of wood heater emission standards, has improved community-level air quality anywhere.

“The only interventions with good evidence for improving the air are those that reduce wood heater numbers.”

And it highlights the many risks and costs to people exposed to this second hand smoke: “I have seen many people end up in hospital with asthma attacks from it and many more who are affected and who have to use much more medication to treat symptoms and avoid hospital,” Dr Markos said.

Dr Markos said there was no safe level of wood smoke exposure.

“It is identical to the risk of lung cancer from passive smoking,” he said. “So, if you live in a smoky hollow, you are playing Russian roulette with whether you might end up with lung cancer after 20 or more years.”

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