Lung Association Reacts to Outdoor Wood Boiler Regs Adopted; Move a Positive Step But More Must Be Done

Statement by Scott T. Santarella, President and CEO of the American Lung Association in New York

ALBANY, NY (12/22/2010)(readMedia)-- The American Lung Association in New York is pleased that the state Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) State Environmental Board took a step today toward improving New Yorkers' air quality and lung health.

While we are encouraged the Board decided to move forward in approving new emission limits and setback and stack height requirements for new residential and commercial outdoor wood boilers, we continue to urge their action in adopting regulations which limit pollution from boilers now in use.

Outdoor wood boilers emit toxic smoke that negatively impacts air quality and lung health. Their emissions contain unhealthy amounts of particulate matter and components such as carbon monoxide, various irritant gases, and chemicals known or suspected to be carcinogens, such as dioxin.

The fact is that despite today's action, many New Yorkers continue to be exposed to toxic smoke emanating from existing outdoor wood boilers that impairs their breathing. More New Yorkers have contacted the Lung Association about breathing problems they attribute to living near these devices than any other air quality issue.

Our State of the Air 2010 report found that more than 20 million New Yorkers live in counties with failing air quality. Until both new and old outdoor wood boilers are better regulated, far too Many New Yorkers will continue to be exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution.

We urge the department to move swiftly in adopting measures that protect New Yorkers from the very real health threat existing outdoor wood boilers present.