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Some Valley pollution is self-inflicted

To the editor:

There are a lot of great things about living in the Pioneer Valley, but unfortunately the air quality is not one of them. According to the federal Environmental Protection Agency, our region is in serious “non-attainment,” which has very real consequences for our health and quality of life. True, much of the Valley’s pollution problems are the result of northward drift from more developed areas to our south.

However, at this time of year there are plenty of reminders that much of this malaise is self-inflicted. A recent edition of “Earth Talk” in the Gazette pointed out that some compounds in dryer sheets have been linked to cancer.

Similarly, woodstoves, viewed by many as a natural form of heating, emit carcinogens similar to those identified in cigarette smoke. Although oil burners have a host of ills, at least they are tested and tuned in a standardized way to prevent the emission of the dangerous compounds that come from improperly operated woodstoves.

Next time you toss a dryer sheet in or damp down your stove for the night, consider whether the non-static cling or the modest dip in your heating bill are worth dosing yourself, your kids and your neighbors with compounds that could lead to asthma attacks or lung cancer.

David I. King


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