FAIRBANKS, Alaska – The federal Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new standards for wood stoves that would reduce the maximum amount of fine particulate emissions allowed for new stoves sold in 2015 and 2019.
Maximum emissions would be reduced by one-third next year and by 80 percent in five years, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.
Fine particulate pollution is made up of solid particles and liquid droplets that measure 2.5 micrometers in diameter or less. The EPA currently certifies non-catalytic wood stoves if they produce less than 7.5 grams of fine particulate per hour.
Fine particulate absorbed by breathing has been linked to heart attacks, decreased lung function and premature death in people with heart or lung disease.
The proposed EPA regulations would reduce that to 4.5 grams per hour for stoves manufactured after the regulations go into place next year.
The standards would tighten again in 2019. New stoves could emit just 1.3 grams per hour.
Wood stoves already installed or for sale are not affected by the regulations, the EPA announced Friday.
The EPA in its announcement said dollars spent for compliance would be made up in medical cost savings.
"When these standards are fully implemented, EPA estimates that for every dollar spent to comply with these standards, the American public will see between $118 and $267 in health benefits," it said. "Consumers will also see a monetary benefit from efficiency improvements in the new wood stoves, which use less wood to heat homes. The total health and economic benefits of the proposed standards are estimated to be at $1.8 (billion) to $2.4 billion annually."
The EPA will take public comment on the proposed changes for 90 days.