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Author Topic: What happens to the particles in wood smoke after they exit the chimney?  (Read 1832 times)

Offline Karsten

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Wood stoves create no additional CO2 but their smoke contains particulate matter. Some of it is irritating to the respiratory system or even carcinogenic I hear. Where do those particles go? Do they get broken down in the environment and turn less carcinogenic? Do they accumulate somewhere? Where does this stuff end up?

Wood stoves are becoming more popular here in the Northern US and Canada and I wonder if the use of wood stoves is only advisable in areas that are sparsely populated.


 

Offline chris

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The particles become airborne and remain so for a duration that is proportional to their size. Larger, heavier particles drop out sooner than the lighter species. Usually they attract water (as nucleating surfaces) and come down with rain, but other surfaces, especially oily surfaces will encourage them to stick.

I am not sure that a home fire is any worse for the environment, or human health, than a car. Indeed cars produce extremely tiny particles (nanoparticles) which are ultrafine and penetrate extremely deeply into the lungs. I'm not sure if the average domestic fire produces appreciable quantities of those.

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lyner

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Wood stoves create no additional CO2 but their smoke contains particulate matter. Some of it is irritating to the respiratory system or even carcinogenic I hear.
I believe that there is a high incidence of lung cancer in regions where (women) cook indoors over wood fires.
 

Offline Karsten

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The particles become airborne and remain so for a duration that is proportional to their size. Larger, heavier particles drop out sooner than the lighter species. Usually they attract water (as nucleating surfaces) and come down with rain, but other surfaces, especially oily surfaces will encourage them to stick.

Ok, now that they have washed down onto the ground or stick to an oily surface, what happens now? Are they still carcinogenic/toxic? Do they break down somehow? How? If they stay are they a problem for the ground? Can they become part of the human food chain?

I am aware that this may not be a problem now. I am wondering though if it can become a problem if more and more people use wood stoves again. I would like to know how the cycle is closed for those particles.
« Last Edit: 07/03/2009 21:40:32 by Karsten »
 

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