Connecticut’s Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is calling for a ban on outdoor wood burning furnaces because of concerns over air pollution and impacts on public health. The American Lung Association joined Blumenthal urging lawmakers to ban the furnaces.
Unlike woodstoves, these furnaces are sited outside homes. They look like small sheds standing about three to six feet tall, with a smoke stack. The Department of Environmental Protection says the furnaces release unhealthy amounts of particulate matter, carbon monoxide and other toxic pollutants. The state currently regulates how close some furnaces can be to a neighbor’s house, as well as the height of smoke stacks. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal says in the past 18 months his office has received more complaints about smoke from the furnaces
“In difficult economic times people are using more wood instead of higher-priced natural gas and oil. But the down side is that there are severe environmental and health dangers and that’s why these outdoor wood furnaces need to be redesigned, fundamentally and completely. if they are to be acceptable. Right now they need to be banned.”
In Connecticut three towns already ban the furnaces. On the federal level, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency started a voluntary program with furnace manufacturers two years ago, who agreed to make cleaner models that are more efficient and pollute less.
For WNPR, I'm Nancy Cohen.