Thanks to: Lowell Center for Sustainable Production: Mission. Health Impacts of Wood Combustion: State of the Science and Policy Opportunities

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1 Thanks to: Health Impacts of Wood Combustion: State of the Science and Policy Opportunities Polly Hoppin, ScD Molly Jacobs, MPH University of Massachusetts, Lowell July 9, 2013 Funders Heinz Endowments New York Energy Research and Development Authority Collaborating organizations American Lung Association Asthma Regional Council of New England Clean Air Council Massachusetts Medical Society New York Energy Research and Development Authority New England College of Occupational and Env. Medicine Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management University of British Columbia Colleagues Advisory Committee Special thanks to Norm Anderson, Dave Brown, Ellen Burkhard, Dick Clapp Lowell Center Expertise and Approach Interdisciplinary center of faculty, staff, fellows environmental health sciences; epidemiology; industrial hygiene; policy sister organization with chemists and engineers Approach research and analysis strategic engagement of leaders and decisionmakers topics at the intersection of health, environment and economy Lowell Center for Sustainable Production: Mission promotes communities, workplaces, and products to be healthy, humane, and respectful of natural systems committed to working collaboratively with citizen groups, workers, businesses, institutions, and governments to build healthy work environments, thriving communities, and viable businesses and institutions that support a more sustainable world 1

2 Premise Institutional, Commercial and Industrial (ICI) Biomass Combustion Our systems of production and consumption are not only root causes of environmental and health problems, but also significant contributors to the solution. Randolph Union High, VT 3.5 MMBtu/hr (input) Livermore Falls, ME MMBtu/hr (input) Robbins Lumber Co, ME 70 MMBtu/hr (input) [2 units] Convergence of Need and Opportunity ICI wood biomass combustion is: - proliferating in the Northeast - potentially hazardous to human health - promoted by agencies whose missions do not include public health - currently under the radar of decision-makers charged with protecting public health Debate so far had focused on carbon neutrality, environmental sustainability There are solutions technical, program, policy Northeast Initiative on ICI Biomass and Health: Goals Elevate health in decision-making about the use of wood as fuel for ICI heat and power, and in renewable energy decision-making more broadly Advance healthy, renewable energy 2

3 Northeast Initiative on ICI Biomass and Health: Activities Synthesize scientific information relevant to health effects (see Conduct policy research Engage health professionals in reviewing relevant science and proposing policy recommendations Convene cross-agency/interdisciplinary dialogue about health effects and about policy steps Support implementation of recommendations Are there health impacts from ICI wood combustion? No epidemiological studies Insights gained from understanding: 1. Inherent hazard of wood combustion pollutants 2. State of the science of wood smoke toxicology & epidemiology vulnerable and susceptible populations 3. Emission characteristics reviewed from a public health lens Key pollutant of concern: Fine Particulate Matter Adapted from Naeher et al In Hoppin P and M Jacobs. Emissions and Health Effects of Wood Biomass Combustion. In: Jacobson MJ and D Ciolkosz (eds). Wood-Based Energy in the Northern Forests. New York: Springer (in press). 3

4 Particulate matter: size matters Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews State of the science: Woodsmoke PM demonstrates evidence for concern Do wood smoke particles pose different levels of risk from other particles? Respiratory disease: No Cardiovascular disease:? Woodsmoke Particles Respiratory effects from woodsmoke exposure Evidence from landscape fires: asthma hospitalizations(children & adults) Evidence from residential wood smoke: asthma hospitalizations & decreased lung function (children & adults) 32% increase in middle ear infections among children exposed to higher levels of wood burning Top reason for children < 2 yrsto see physician, be prescribed antibiotics 8% increase in bronchiolitis among infants exposed to higher levels of wood burning Top reason for children < 1 yrto be hospitalized Bar = 1 µm = 1/1000 of 1mm Slide adapted from Mike Brauer presentation, 11/7/2012 Naeher LP, Brauer M, Lipsett M, Zelikoff JT, Simpson CD, Koenig JQ, Smith KR. Woodsmoke health effects: A review. Inhal Toxicol Jan;19(1): Naeher LP, Brauer M, Lipsett M, Zelikoff JT, Simpson CD, Koenig JQ, Smith KR. Woodsmoke health effects: A review. Inhal Toxicol Jan;19(1): MacIntyre EA, Karr CJ, Demers P, Koehoorn M, Lencer C, Tamburic L, Brauer M. Exposure to residential air pollution and otitis media during the first two years of life. Epidemiology Jan;22(1):81-9.; Karr CJ, Demer PA, Koehoorn MW, Lencar CC, Tamburic L, Brauer M. Influence of ambient air pollutant sources on clinical encounters for infant bronchiolitis. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 2009, 180(10): ; Clark NA, Demers P, Karr C, Koehoorn M, Lencar C, Tamburic L. Brauer M. Effect of early life exposure to air pollution on development of childhood asthma. Environmental Health Perspectives 2010, 188(2): 118:

5 Health Improvements due to actions taken to reduced woodsmoke exposure Results: a 5 µg/m 3 decrease in average winter time PM 2.5 associated with: (-) 26.7% in wheeze among children AND (-) 54.6% in bronchitis; (-) 25.4% reduction in colds Cardiovascular effects from woodsmoke exposure Community wildfire exposure (+/-): mixed results for CVD association (mortality, cardiac arrest) high bushfire exposures in Australia: (+) Wildland firefighters (+): systemic inflammation, Controlled exposures: (+/-): systemic inflammation Swiston JR et al. Acute Pulmonary and Systemic Inflammatory Response Induced by Exposure to wood smoke. European Respiratory Journal, 2008; 32: 129- Sallsten, G et al. Experimental wood smoke exposure in humans. Inhal. Toxicol. 18(11): ; Barregard L et al. Experimental exposure to wood-smoke particles in healthy humans: effects on markers of inflammation, coagulation, and lipid peroxidation. Inhal Toxicol Oct;18(11): ; Barregard L et al. Experimental exposure to wood smoke: effects on airway inflammation and oxidative stress.. Occup Environ Med May;65(5):319-24; Allen RW, Carlsten C, Karlen B, Leckie S, van Eeden S, Vedal S, Wong I, Brauer M. An Air Filter Intervention Study of Oxidative Stress, Endothelial Dysfunction, and Inflammation Among Healthy Adults in a Woodsmoke-Impacted Community. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, , Susceptible & Vulnerable Populations Susceptible populations: risk at lower levels of exposure to woodsmokepre-existing respiratory disease infants and children schools: kids exercising out of door Vulnerable populations geographic areas with high existing pollution loads Exposure to PM 2.5 : No bright, safe line Health benefits below current NAAQS Life Expectancy vs PM EPA NAAQS 12ug/m 3 Naeher LP, Brauer M, Lipsett M, Zelikoff JT, Simpson CD, Koenig JQ, Smith KR. Woodsmoke health effects: A review. Inhal Toxicol Jan;19(1): MacIntyre EA, Karr CJ, Demers P, Koehoorn M, Lencer C, Tamburic L, Brauer M. Exposure to residential air pollution and otitis media during the first two years of life. Epidemiology Jan;22(1):81-9.; Karr CJ, Demer PA, Koehoorn MW, Lencar CC, Tamburic L, Brauer M. Influence of ambient air pollutant sources on clinical encounters for infant bronchiolitis. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 2009, 180(10): ; Clark NA, Demers P, Karr C, Koehoorn M, Lencar C, Tamburic L. Brauer M. Effect of early life exposure to air pollution on development of childhood asthma. Environmental Health Perspectives 2010, 188(2): 118: Pope, Ezzati, Dockery (NEJM 2009) Slide adapted from Doug Dockery presentation, 11/7/2012 5

6 Additional Health Hazards Occupational exposure to wood dust: rhinitis, sinusitis, nasal obstruction, asthma, chronic bronchitis, dermatitis Wood fuel storage (primarily pellets): CO poisoning (14 fatal cases since 2002) Wood fuel transport: diesel exposure and associated health concerns Factors that influence exposure levels: contribute to large variations in emission levels 1. fuel type (wood pellets, wood chips, wood logs, bark) 2. boiler design (direct-fired boilers; gasification) 3. fuel quality (moisture, impurities) 4. operating conditions (run load, heat demand) 5. meteorological conditions 6. topographical conditions PM Emissions: Boiler design & fuel types PM variability: small boilers PM2.5 emission lb/mmbtu PM2.5 emissions mg/mj bole chip 7 mmbtu/h stoker mill chip 7 mmbtu/h stoker wood chip 0.5 mmbtu/h 2-stage wood pellet 0.5 mmbtu/h 2-stage wood pellet 1.7 mmbtu/h 2-stage #6 Heating Oil 1.5 mmbtu/h #2 HHO 4.3 mmbtu/h #2 ULSD 0.1 mmbtu/h 0 Acknowledgements Lisa Rector, NESCAUM Phil Hopke, Clarkson University Tom Butcher, BNL Slide adapted from: Steve Snook, VT DEC 11/7/2011 presentation 6

7 Combustion source Emissions (mg/mj) Composition Open fireplace MORE TOXIC Conventional woodstove Conventional log boilers Modern woodstoves log/chip boilers (50 250) Mostly soot & some organic particles Soot & organic particles Mostly organic particles & some soot Alkali salt particles, some organic particles & soot Meteorological & topographical conditions: local impacts Cold air stagnates in winter (low wind speed & inversions) Woodsmoke concentrates in low lying areas, such a river valleys Pellet stoves/boilers LESS TOXIC Adapted from: Kocbach Bølling et al. 2009; M Brauer presentation 1/24/2012 Mostly alkali salt particles Miller P, Allen G, Rector L, et al. Spatial Modeling and Monitoring of Residential Woodsmoke across a Non-Urban Upstate New York Region. Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management. Prepared for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. February Summary of health concerns, challenges & opportunities Research raises concern about health impacts of wood smoke exposure Variety of susceptible and vulnerable populations Conditions affecting exposure vary widely; therefore difficult to characterize. Science gaps Lack of studies on ICI exposures Lack of studies on peak exposure Lack of studies on susceptible populations, e.g. exposures from school boilers and impacts on school children There are less polluting technologies available Policy Research What are roles and responsibilities of each agency with regard to ICI wood combustion? What federal and state policies are in place to protect public health? How do policies and practices vary across Northeast states? Does policy promote cleanest technologies? 7

8 Policy Research Conclusions Health hazards not fully taken into account in public policy decision-making Policy does not promote cleanest-burning units Health hazards not fully taken into account in public policy decision-making Environment agency regulations some flying under regulatory radar not regulated, and/or impact analyses not conducted where regulated, inconsistent ambient air quality assessment/permits emissions vary; permits assume best combustion conditions too small to independently cause violations this may change if NAAQS is lowered local populations vulnerability/susceptibility not part of ambient air quality standards or permit requirements peak exposures matter but are not regulated for most pollutants No authority to specify fuels or determine siting environmental impact assessments typically do not include health Institutional scale not regulated in some states Where regulated, inconsistent approaches 8

9 Opportunities: Carrots Dialogues to Review Research and Make Policy Recommendations Facilities decisions by education agencies Energy/renewable energy planning Forest Service or other grant programs Some promising examples NY: requirement of 83% efficiency to receive stimulus funds from NYSERDA for commercial biomass units Health professionals June, 2011 January, 2012 Cross-agency/interdisciplinary dialogue about health effects and policy steps November, 2011 Follow-up on key recommendations: 2012/2013 Individual states Regional Biomass industry? Health Professionals Conclusions Components found in woodsmoke are hazardous Woodsmoke itself is hazardous Exposure is difficult to characterize but worrisome Some populations are susceptible and/or vulnerable Health concerns go beyond indoor and outdoor air; across the wood biomass system Some science gaps can be filled; others are inherent Wood Biomass for Heat and Power: Addressing Public Health Impacts Science Policy Symposium Strategic convening health, environment, education, energy, forestry agencies, state and federal nine Northeast states health scientists and health professionals biomass industry and health advocacy stakeholders Meeting goals: exchange information about the state of the science on health effects associated with ICI wood combustion generate recommendations to enhance public health protection in the context of the proliferation of ICI woodburning 9

10 Symposium Agenda Opening: DHHS and US Forest Service Morning Sessions: Health Effects of the Use of Wood for Heat and Power in the Northeast State of the Science: Woodsmoke Emissions and Health Particulate Matter, Air Toxics & Health: The Big Picture. Doug Dockery, Harvard School of Public Health Biomass Combustion, Exposure and Health Effects. Mike Brauer, School of Environmental Health, University of British Columbia Toxicity of Wood Smoke Particles Generated Under Different Combustion Conditions. Anette Kocbach Bølling, Norwegian Institute of Public Health ICI Wood Burning in the Northeast Air Emissions and Permitting: ICI Biomass Boilers Steve Snook, VT Department of Environmental Conservation Energy & Emissions Performance of Commercial Wood Boilers. Ellen Burkhard, New York State Energy Research Development Authority Estimating Public Health Impacts: Air Receptor Modeling & Measurement. Phil Hopke, Clarkson University Symposium Agenda (cont.) Afternoon Sessions: Policy and Program Opportunities; Recommendations Moderated Panel; Current Practice and Perspectives from Northeast States 7 states Departments of Health, Environment, Energy, Education Medical Society Biomass Thermal Energy Council Roundtable Discussions and Plenary: Promising Policy and Program Tools for Coordinated Regional Action Priority Actions Encourage cleaner combustion technologies: 4 priorities Utilize regulatory programs, policies & tools: 5 priorities Develop guidance and educational materials: 3 priorities Fill policy-relevant research gaps: 3 priorities Ensure public health engagement in energy decision-making: 4 priorities Address public health and large-scale wood combustion: 4 priorities Priority Actions: encourage cleaner combustion technologies Develop a best practices guide for the optimizing biomass heating combustion efficiency and performance. Establish regional specifications for wood biomass fuel and appliance standards. Provide financial incentives to off-set the up-front costs of new wood biomass heating projects Research and development for low-cost advanced emission control technologies. 10

11 Priority Actions: develop guidance and educational materials Require that ICI boiler operators receive formal operations training. Establish and coordinate a regional informational clearinghouse regarding public health risks associated with wood biomass combustion. Require that facility proponents address the public s concerns regarding health impacts, e.g. via a Health Impact Assessment during air permit processes. Priority Actions: fill policy-relevant research gaps Design and conduct an efficient study of the health effects (or biological markers) in children to address the extent to which children are being adversely affected by ICI emissions in their schools. Design and conduct an exposure study that fully describes the PM and non-pm emissions from a state-of-the art advanced combustion ICI wood biomass unit. Design and conduct a qualitative research study to evaluate the level and sources of public knowledge regarding ICI wood biomass emissions. Priority Actions: ensure public health engagement in energy decision-making Principles Formally integrate health into energy planning processes Establish a regional working group to integrate public health into the energy decision-making process Develop HIA standards Establish an informational clearinghouse Important to fill data gaps, but there is sufficient science to proceed with common sense actions to reduce exposure to woodsmoke Though there may be disagreement about pace, all policies should drive continual improvements in efficiency and emissions. Important to consider health and environmental impacts across the life cycle Regional coordination critical 11

12 Take-Aways for Biomass Proponents #1 Become partners in prioritizing public health in wood biomass decision-making across the Northeast. Consider public health implications early in energy planning, and maximize health while still respecting other important societal goals, such as energy efficiency, carbon neutrality, sustainable forestry practices, reduced dependence on fossil fuels, and economic revitalization. Take-Aways for Biomass Proponents #2 Engage in promoting better understanding and consideration of the health impacts on susceptible and vulnerable populations, as well as measures to prevent or reduce exposures to individuals and communities. Particular attention should be paid to both the risks from localized peak exposures and the installation of wood boilers schools. Take-Aways for Biomass Proponents #3 Incentivize and reward only high-efficiency, clean, wood-fired combustion, with consistent standards across the Northeast, focusing not only on technologies but also on outcomes. Take-Aways for Biomass Proponents #4 Support filling gaps in existing air quality regulation and air quality monitoring capacity, including lack of scrutiny of smaller ICI units in some states. Consider supporting other regulatory measures to protect public health and discourage all but the cleanest-burning wood biomass units. 12

13 Take-Aways for Biomass Proponents #5 Constructively engage the public in wood biomass decisions, providing opportunities for full participation in project and policy planning, including providing and considering relevant data, weighing trade-offs and proposing solutions. Take-Aways for Biomass Proponents #6 Engage/explore Health Impact Assessment A tool to determine the potential effects of a proposed policy, plan, program, or project on the health of a population and the distribution of those effects within the population systematic process uses array of data sources/analytic methods considers input from stakeholders provides recommendations on monitoring and managing effects (National Research Council, 2011) Follow-Up Some states/organizations pursuing ideas/recommendations discussed at Symposium UML working with partners to advance Research Agenda Regional Coordination Health Impact Assessment Questions/Comments? Polly Hoppin, Research Professor and Program Director Molly Jacobs, Senior Research Associate School of Health and Environment; Lowell Center for Sustainable Production University of Massachusetts, Lowell

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