Protect Westchester Families from Secondhand Smoke: Require Emissions Filters for Restaurants that Burn Wood near Residences

Let all Westchester residents breathe reasonably fresh air in their own homes.

Urge Westchester County's Executive and Legislator to require Toxic Emissions-Reducing Filters for restaurants that regularly burn wood or other solid fuels near residences (just like NYC does).

Wood smoke particle pollution is linked to lung disease, asthma, respiratory infection, reduced lung function, cancer, developmental and reproductive effects, low birth weight, and infant mortality. (EPA)

A growing number of municipalities, including NYC and even some municipalities in Italy, require that wood-burning restaurants install emissions filters. Source 1, NYC Rules.

  • Air pollution kills over 2 million people annually, according to the World Health Organization.
  • Burning 10 lbs. of wood releases as much highly toxic Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) as burning 6,000 packs of cigarettes.
  • Lifetime cancer risk is 12 times greater for wood smoke compared to an equal volume of second hand cigarette smoke.
  • Wood is far more toxic than natural gas: The inhalable particulate pollution from one woodstove is equivalent to the amount emitted from 3,000 gas furnaces producing the same amount of heat.
  • Wood smoke is the most toxic type of pollution in most cities, more dangerous than auto pollution and most industrial pollution.
  • There is no amount of wood smoke that is good to breathe.
  • Smoke from a wood fire contains hundreds of compounds known to be carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic, and irritating to the respiratory system.
  • Most of the particles generated by burning wood are smaller than one micron—a size believed to be most damaging to our lungs. These particles are so fine that they can evade our mucociliary defenses and travel directly into the bloodstream, posing a risk to the heart. Particles this size also resist gravitational settling, remaining airborne for weeks at a time.

Links and Sources:

World Health Organization Europe (2005). Effects of Air Pollution on Childen's Health and Development: A Review of the Evidence. (PDF)


Chen J., Wang S., Hsieh D., Yang H., Lee H. (2012). Carcinogenic Potencies of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons for Back-Door Neighbors of Restaurants with Cooking Emissions. Science of the Total Environment, 417–418 : 68–75.

Gianelle V., Colombi C., Caserini S., Ozgen S., Galante S., Marongiu A., Lanzani G. (2013). Benzo(a)pyrene Air Concentrations and Emission Inventory in Lombardy Region, Italy. Atmospheric Pollution Research, 4(3), 257–266.

Alves C., Gonçalves C., Fernandes A.P., Tarelho L., Pio C. (2011). Fireplace and Woodstove Fine Particle Emissions from Combustion of Western Mediterranean Wood Types. Atmospheric Research, 101(3), 692–700.

Woodruff T., Parker J., Schoendorf K. (2006).  Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) Air Pollution and Selected Causes of Postneonatal Infant Mortality in California. Environmental Health Perspectives, 114(5), 786–790.

Wang P., You D., Saravia J., Shen H., Cormier S. (2013). Maternal Exposure to Combustion Generated PM Inhibits Pulmonary Th1 Maturation and Concomitantly Enhances Postnatal Asthma Development in Offspring. Particle and Fibre Toxicology, 10(1), 29.

Sarigiannis D., Karakitsios S., Zikopoulos D., Nikolaki S., Kermenidou, M. (2015). Lung Cancer Risk from PAHs Emitted from Biomass Combustion. Environmental Research, 137, 147–156.

Schwartz J., Slater D., Larson T., Pierson W., Koenig J. (1993). Particulate Air Pollution and Hospital Emergency Room Visits for Asthma in Seattle. The American Review of Respiratory Disease, 147(4), 826–831.

Siddika N., Balogun H.A., Amegah A.K., Jaakkola J.J. (2016). Prenatal Ambient Air Pollution Exposure and the Risk of stillbirth: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Empirical Evidence. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 73(9):573-81 [Epub 2016 May 24].

Slaughter J.C., Lumley T., Sheppard L., Koenig J.Q., Shapiro G.G. (2003). Effects of Ambient Air Pollution on Symptom Severity and Medication Use in Children with Asthma. Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, 91(4), 346–53.

Šrám R., Binková B., Dejmek J., Bobak M. (2005). Ambient Air Pollution and Pregnancy Outcomes: A Review of the Literature. Environmental Health Perspectives, 113(4), 375–382.

Suades-González E., Gascon M., Guxens M., Sunyer J. (2015).  Air Pollution and Neuropsychological Development: A Review of the Latest Evidence. Endocrinology, 156(10), 3473.

Wang P., You D., Saravia J., Shen H., Cormier S. (2013). Maternal Exposure to Combustion Generated PM Inhibits Pulmonary Th1 Maturation and Concomitantly Enhances Postnatal Asthma Development in Offspring. Particle and Fibre Toxicology, 10(1), 29.

Respiratory Tract Deposition of Inhaled Wood Smoke Particles in Healthy Volunteers.
Wood Stove Pollution in the Developed World: A Case to Raise Awareness Among Pediatricians.

Buonanno G., Morawska L., Stabile L., Viola A. (2010). Exposure to Particle Number, Surface Area and PM Concentrations in Pizzerias. Atmospheric Environment, 44(32), 3963–3969.

Robinson D., Monro J., Campbell E. (2007). Spatial Variability and Population Exposure to PM2.5 Pollution from Woodsmoke in a New South Wales Country Town. Atmospheric Environment, 41(26), 5464–5478.

Sarigiannis D., Karakitsios S., Kermenidou M. (2015). Health Impact and Monetary Cost of Exposure to Particulate Matter Emitted from Biomass Burning in Large Cities. Science of The Total Environment, 524, 319–330.

Sigsgaard T., Forsberg B., Annesi-Maesano I., Blomberg A., Bølling A, Boman C. (2015). Health Impacts of Anthropogenic Biomass Burning in the Developed World. The European Respiratory Journal, 46(6):1577–88.

Wellenius G., Schwartz J., Mittleman M. (2006).  Particulate Air Pollution and Hospital Admissions for Congestive Heart Failure in Seven United States Cities. The American Journal of Cardiology, 97(3), 404–408.

Pflieger M., Kroflič A. (2017). Acute Toxicity of Emerging Atmospheric Pollutants from Wood Lignin Due to Biomass Burning. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 338, 132–139.

Lewtas J. (2007). Air Pollution Combustion Emissions: Characterization of Causative Agents Associated with Cancer, Reproductive, and Cardiovascular Effects. Mutation Research, (1–3), 95–133.

Hawthorne S., Miller D., Langenfeld J., Krieger M. (1992). PM10 High-Volume Collection and Quantitation of Semi- and Nonvolatile Phenols, Methoxylated Phenols, Alkanes, and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons from Winter Urban Air and their Relationship to Wood Smoke Emissions. Environmental Science & Technology, 26(11), 2251.

Danielsen P.H., Møller P., Jensen K.A., Sharma A.K., Wallin H., Bossi R., Autrup H., Mølhave L., et al. (2011). Oxidative Stress, DNA Damage, and Inflammation Induced by Ambient Air and Wood Smoke Particulate Matter in Human A549 and THP-1 Cell Lines. Chemical Research in Toxicology, 24 (2), 168–184.

Bailey H., de Klerk N., Fritschi L., Attia J., Daubenton J., et al. (2011). Refuelling of Vehicles, the Use of Wood Burners and the Risk of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in Childhood: Petrol Refuelling, Wood Burning and Childhood ALL. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, 25(6), 528–539.

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