Albany Times Union (Letter to the editor): Letter: Wood boilers are hardship on some

(December 10, 2011)

Albany Times Union logo

December 10, 2011

To the editor:

With colder weather right around the corner, some New Yorkers will be firing up outdoor wood boilers to heat their homes. Unfortunately for individuals with lung ailments who live nearby, these devices are highly polluting and could cause serious health effects.

While the state enacted regulations last year to ensure that new wood furnaces will burn cleaner than older models, many dirty older furnaces remain in operation. While the new smokestack height requirements and property line setbacks adopted do help lessen the burden on those with lung disease, only an outright ban on these devices will offer New Yorkers the level of protection they need and deserve.

In the 2011 State of the Air Report, the American Lung Association found that nearly half of state residents live in counties where air pollution endangers their lives and health. We need to do more to ensure that people are breathing healthy air.

As long as outdoor wood boilers are operating in New York, residents should familiarize themselves with current regulations.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation recommends that residents check with their town clerk to see if more stringent local regulations have been adopted. For more information about outdoor wood boilers and how to file a complaint, visit the DEC website at http://www.dec.ny.gov.

IRWIN BERLIN, M.D.
Board chairman
American Lung Association in New York
Albany