Heat vs. health: Wood smoke in Vermont
Introduction. Given rising energy prices in recent years, wood burning stoves offer an attractive and affordable means of home heating. Unfortunately, wood smoke emissions have been linked to respiratory and cardiovascular disease and, in some cases, premature death. Recent studies have also discovered known carcinogens in wood smoke emissions. Objective. A survey was developed and administered to assess public concern and knowledge regarding the health impacts of wood smoke emissions. We assessed public awareness about methods to reduce health risks and the best avenues to provide additional information and resources. Methods. A 2-page survey was designed to assess Vermonters' knowledge and concerns about the potential health impacts of wood smoke. Surveys were collected from 3 polling locations in Chittenden County (n=234): Data were entered into Excel and 10% were randomly selected for a quality control check. Descriptive statistics were analyzed in Excel and statistical significance was determined using Chi-square test. Results. A majority of respondents (61%) were concerned about the respiratory complications associated with wood smoke emissions. Few (34%) of those heating with wood report using an EPA-certified wood stove. Additionally, amongst those polled, uncertainty persists regarding the efficiency benefits of EPA-certified stoves compared to traditional wood stoves. Conclusion. Survey respondents were overwhelmingly concerned about the respiratory complications associated with wood smoke, yet divided on the best methods to reduce wood smoke emissions. To address these issues, we recommend promoting available resources about EPA-certified stoves and health effects of wood smoke.
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Discuss public health risks related to wood burning stoves.
Describe methods used to assess public concern and knowledge regarding health impacts of wood smoke emissions.
Formulate strategies to educate the public about health effects of wood smoke and methods to reduce wood smoke emissions.
Keywords: Air Pollutants, Public Health Education
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was actively involved in the design, implementation, analysis, writing, and presentation of this project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines,
and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed
in my presentation.