Environmental Project No. 1235, 2008

Health effects assessment of exposure to particles from wood smoke


Based on an extensive literature survey, the reports concludes that particles from woodsmoke should be considered as harmful to health and that effects from these particles cannot be considered as less severe compared to ambient air particles in general or diesel particles.
In Denmark, there are about 551,000 wood stoves and 48,000 wood boilers and the particle emission from these sources make up the most dominant source of particle emission in Denmark. It is estimated that this emission contributes to an annual increased PM2.5 level of 0.6 microgram/m³.
From the dose-response relationships used by the WHO and EU, it can be estimated that this increased level is associated with an annual increase in mortality of about 200 extra deaths, about 160 extra cases of hospital admissions due to respiratory diseases, and about 60 new cases of chronic bronchitis in the Denmark.
It should be remembered that this preliminary health impact assessment of woodsmoke PM is hampered by the limited exposure data available as well as by the absence of specific dose-response relationships for the selected health impacts due to long-term exposure to woodsmoke PM.
It should also be noted that the approach taken to assess the selected health impacts for woodsmoke PM is in general considered to underestimate the health impacts as the dose-response relationship for mortality most likely is underestimated.

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