- Each winter, my health is impacted on by my neighbours’ wood-smoke from their wood heaters. Not only does the woodsmoke make me ill for days at a time but it also makes my life and that of my family’s difficult: we have to seal our windows with masking tape to keep the smoke out; we can’t run the exhausts fans in the bathroom unless someone outside the bathroom can tape up and seal cracks around the door due to the backdraft of woodsmoke that comes in; some nights, I have to sleep with a 3M filter mask over my face to protect my airways; we can’t leave our washing outside, nor can we go outside for long—most days, I can’t go outside at all—because the wood-smoke particles permeate into our hair and clothing, effecting my airways when we come in.
As might be expected from such a flawed process, the current wood heater test doesn’t measure real-life emissions The average new wood heater (that meets the current flawed ‘standard’) emits more PM2.5 per year than 1,000 petrol cars and has estimated health costs of thousands of dollars per year. This meaningless ‘standard’ should be withdrawn immediately and a task force set up to develop a replacement test that measures real-life emissions and to set an appropriate emissions limit that will safeguard public health.Despite being used in Sydney as the main form of heating by less than 5% of households, the NSW EPA estimates that domestic wood heaters are responsible for more than half of all Sydney’s PM2.5 emissions over the entire year. A consultancy report for the NSW EPA estimated that woodsmoke is an $8.1 health problems in NSW, but that 3 simple measures
2) phasing out wood heaters when houses are sold