Environmentalists Say Wood Furnaces Produce Toxic Smoke

HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) – The state of Connecticut has joined in on a possible lawsuit calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to tighten its regulations for outdoor wood-burning furnaces.

As WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau reported, more and more people are using outdoor wood furnaces to heat their homes because of the rising price of oil.

But environmentalists warn that while the fuel might be cheaper, the toxins from the smoke are dangerous.

Nancy Alderman, head of the New Haven-based advocacy group Environment and Human Health, said the smoke is denser and doesn’t rise to dissipate.

“So no matter how high you put the stack, the smoke will still fall toward the ground and it will still hang in a plume,” Alderman told Schneidau.

She said the smoke is as toxic as cigarette smoke.

Alderman said these outdoor wood furnaces are also proving to be toxic to neighbors looking to sell their homes.

“If you live in a home near an outdoor wood furnace, you probably cannot sell that home. People do not want to buy a house encased in smoke,” Alderman said.

The letter of intent to sue the EPA signed by the attorneys general of Connecticut, New York and five other states seeks to force the federal agency to tighten regulations governing the outdoor wood furnaces.

The push for standardized laws would not impact the use of wood stoves.

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