EPA focuses on wood stoves in new pollution ruling

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is changing manufacturing standards for wood stoves produced in the future. The new rules are intended to make heaters more efficient, while improving public safety.

Last updated in 1988, the new standards target wood heater particle emissions, known as soot. New technology has allowed for the production of cleaner burning wood heaters, and the EPA has therefore decided to take definitive action to ensure these systems  are used to reduce pollution.

The rules will be phased in over a period of five years, allowing manufacturer's ample time to change their product lines and to develop fresh models that meet the EPA's standards. The regulations do not affect current heaters in use today, and they do not override state or local laws governing wood heater use.

Wood heaters are used all over the nation, over throughout the day, and can increase soot levels to the point of serious health concerns. Many heaters also release smoke containing dangerous organic compounds, such as carbon monoxide. Heart attacks, strokes and asthma attacks, among other health effects, are all linked to particle pollution. Children, the elderly, and those already suffering from heart or lung disease are at the greatest risk.

The EPA's pollution rules require manufacturer's to reduce emissions by two-thirds through the use of new technology. Estimates suggest that approximately $3.4 to $7.6 billion would be saved through public health benefits, indicating a positive return on investment for bringing cleaner heaters to consumers. 

Environmental consultants are available to work with businesses and manufactures to ensure they are following federal rules regarding production procedures.