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Tracking down particulates
Date:12/13/2010

This release is available in German.

For some years now, consumers have been making increasing use of wood as a fuel and not only on account of the rising cost of heating oil and natural gas. "Comfort fireplaces" have become all the rage because open fires, tiled and wood-burning stoves give a room a snug and cozy feel. But using wood for heating has one distinct disadvantage. When pellets, logs or briquettes are burnt, fine dust particles that are hazardous to health are released into the atmosphere. These particles are known to cause coughs, place stress on the cardiovascular system, and are thought to be carcinogenic. Indeed, studies by the World Health Organization have found that fine dust particles reduce average life expectancy in Germany by approximately ten months.

According to the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, there are now 14 million small, single-room combustion plants installed all over Germany and that figure is on the rise. Wood use by private individuals has gone up by 60 to 80 per cent since the year 2000. In 2004, emissions from domestic heating systems exceeded road traffic emissions for the first time ever. Earlier this year, in an attempt to deal with this increase in pollution, the federal government passed an amendment to the First Ordinance on the Implementation of the Federal Immission Control Act, and new pollution limits for small combustion plants which include both wood-burning stoves and wood-fired boilers came into effect at the end of March. One significant change is that these limits now apply to heating systems with a rated heat output of 4 kilowatts or more, whereas previously only systems with a rated heat output of 15 kilowatts or more were affected. As a result, the number of stoves that will have to be inspected for dust emissions will rise dramatically.

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Contact: Wolfgang Koch
wolfgang.koch@item.fraunhofer.de
49-511-535-0117
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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