Dave King: Spare me from your wood smoke!

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Published: 11/20/2020 3:57:33 PM
Modified: 11/20/2020 3:57:17 PM

Dear neighbor, I empathize with your delight in the rustic crackling in your kitchen of a wood stove; however the poisonous carcinogenic pall drifting down the street makes outdoor life on a winter night not only unpleasant but hazardous.

Wood smoke contains a range of dangerous chemicals, including known carcinogens like benzene and formaldehyde (incidentally chemicals common to cigarettes, which are forbidden in public places in Amherst!). Aside from the carcinogens, the microparticles in wood can trigger heart attacks and strokes, according to the EPA. As if this wasn’t bad enough, wood smoke can trigger asthma attacks in the 10% of the population of our commonwealth that suffer from asthma, which can lead to hospitalization or even death.

Amherst seems to consider itself a caring and aware community, but the fact the people so widely employ an outdated form of heating that leads to hazards to the populace more characteristics of a developing country is truly mystifying. If you want to burn wood, get a pellet stove that will create a roaring fire in the absence of emissions that threaten the health of your neighbors. Otherwise, they will be forced to conclude that you are either ignorant of the harm your wood stove is doing to your neighbors and your community (and you!), or worse, that you just don’t care.

Dave King


Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061


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