Link between wood heaters and breathing issues

Date: Jul 21, 2014

As we enter the darkest and coldest part of winter, it is likely that a significant number of households are using wood heaters to warm their homes.

However, there are hidden dangers to using this form of heating, according to Asthma Foundation NSW. The foundation has urged Standards Australia to amend the standard emissions for wood heaters, citing the overwhelming breathing problems that can arise.

Wood heaters are a major contributor to air pollution in Australia and wood smoke contains a number of noxious gases such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. This can cause heart problems, respiratory diseases and lead to lung cancer.

To bring the regulations in line with the standard of the rest of the world, the Asthma Foundation is recommending adjusting the current legal limits. At present, the standard is four grams of particulate matter per kilogram burned, but New Zealand’s 1.5g per kg is highlighted as a minimum.

The foundation understands that there are more than 83,000 wood heaters across Sydney in use most nights during winter. This contributes close to three-quarters (73 per cent) of air pollution. However, in rural and regional areas of the state, this level can climb to as high as 80 to 90 per cent.

“The average new wood heater in the colder areas of NSW emits as much PM2.5 pollution as 370 new diesel SUVs, each travelling 20,000 km per year,” the foundation said in a July 1 media statement.

What is Standards Australia doing to address this?

A recent report from the state’s environmental protection agency estimated that wood heaters would contribute $8 billion to the NSW health budget in the next two decades. For the 360,000 wood heaters across the entire state, that calculates to $22,000 each.

Standards Australia is currently reviewing standards and an announcement is likely to come later in the year. If changes are made, it would be the first adjustment to laws in more than 20 years.

Medical negligence in NSW

If your health has been affected by a product or service such as wood heaters, you could be eligible for compensation.

Medical negligence claims can entitle you to a wide number of different compensation packages. This can include compensation for economic losses such as loss of wages and superannuation.

You can also claim for costs of past and future care that you have needed since your illness. These types of claims are usually very complex, so it is suggested that you seek legal advice from a lawyer.

Call our expert medical negligence lawyers today for free over-the-phone advice on our Free Call Number, 1800 004 878.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.