Hazards and Effects on Respiratory Health of Backyard Burning

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					    Hazards and Effects on
Respiratory Health of Backyard
           Burning

        Theodore W. Marcy, MD MPH
  Pulmonary Disease and Critical Care Medicine
   University of Vermont College of Medicine

     American Lung Association of Vermont
         Outline of Discussion
• Lung function, anatomy and inhaled toxins
• Characteristics of the emissions from backyard
  burning of trash
   – Contents
   – Quantity compared to other emissions

• Health Hazards
   – In normals
   – In vulnerable populations
     Function of the Respiratory
               System
• Gas exchange
   – Eliminate CO2
   – Transfer Oxygen to blood
• To accomplish this
   – Gas exchange organ (lung)
   – Respiratory pump to move
     air in and out
Anatomy of the Lung and Alveoli
    Location of Gas Exchange
  Interaction of Lung with Environment
• Volume of air we breath per day = 10,000 Liters
• Surface area of lung = Squash court
• Lung defense
   – Filtering by nose and upper airway
   – Impact of particles at branching airways
   – Particles removed by mucociliary escalator and swallowed or
     coughed out
   – Other foreign particles cleared by resident cells of the defense
     system (macrophages)
  What Particles Get to the Alveoli?




Particles of most importance are less than
                                             PM10
10 microns in diameter (RBC is 5 microns)
      Air Pollution and Health
• An increase in PM10 by 10 g/m3 associated with a
  0.5% increase in death rate from all causes
• An increase in PM10 by 10 g /m3 associated with an
  8-18% increase in cardiovascular causes of death
• Ban on coal sales in Dublin associated with a
   – Decrease in air pollution
   – 6% decrease in non-trauma death rates
   – 10% decrease in cardiovascular death rates
   – 16% decrease in respiratory death rates
Wood Burning
      • Campfires
      • Woodstoves for
        home heating
      • Incineration of
        cleared brush and
        trees
                 Wood Burning
Burning 20 lbs of wood puts 1 lb of pollution in the air

• 100 different chemicals
   – Carbon monoxide
   – Nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide
   – Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
   – Large amount of PM10 particulates
• Pollution from 1 home heated by wood for 1yr equals
   – 400 homes heated by oil or natural gas
   – 1 car driving 130,000 miles
Backyard Burning
   • Used as low cost method of trash
     disposal
   • Trash is NOT just wood, paper and
     yard waste
   • Trash consists of plastics, synthetics,
     other chemicals
   • Low temperature burning (500)
     leads to incomplete combustion
   • Emissions highly concentrated and
     “in your face”
Emissions from Backyard Burning

• Fine particulate matter   • Lead
• Carbon monoxide           • Arsenic
• Carbon dioxide            • Mercury
• Sulfur dioxide            • Barium

• Dioxins and Furans        • Chromium

• PAHs and PCBs             • Cadmium
  Comments on Some Emissions
• Carbon monoxide
  – Binds to hemoglobin, reducing oxygen delivery
• Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
  – Contribute to ground level ozone pollution (smog)
  – Aggravate respiratory and heart conditions
  – Some (PAHs) are carcinogenic
• Hexachlorobenzene
  – Birth defects
  – Kidney and liver damage
• Benzopyrene
  – Suspected cause of lung cancer
         Health Consequences
• Upper airway irritation
• Neurologic symptoms (headache, fatigue)
• Acute respiratory symptoms (shortness of breath
• Asthma and chronic lung disease exacerbations
• Acute cardiac events
• Cancers (long term exposures)
• Hospitalizations
• Increased deaths
Emissions from burn barrels in
      the US (lbs./year)
benzene              4,500,000
styrene              3,400,000
formaldehyde         3,100,000
dioxins                    139
furans                      22
PCB                     10,962
hydrogen cyanide     1,700,000
arsenic                  8,186
   Municipal Waste Combustor
    (MWC) vs Barrel Burning




2,200 F               500  F
 EPA Evaluation of Emissions from
 Barrel Burning: Lemieux EPA 1998
• Purpose: Risk assessment
   – Qualitative identification and quantitative measure of
     emissions from open burning of household refuse
   – Comparison to other point and area sources
• Waste from non-recycling and avid recycling
  households
   – Burned in test facility
   – Extractive samples analyzed
• Compared to emissions from MWC field test
     Household Burning vs MWC

Household family of 4    MWC
• Non-recycling          • 182,000 kg/day
  – 4.9 kg/day
                         • 37,000 non-recycling
  – 62% paper products
                           households or
  – 8% plastic resin
• Avid-recycling         • 121,000 recycling
  – 1.5 kg/day             households
  – 62% paperboard
  – 16% plastic resin
Emissions per Mass of Refuse
  MWC vs Open Burning
     How many barrel burning homes
    equals the pollution from a MWC?
  Daily MWC estimated emission              =   #households that
Daily estimated emissions from households       equal a MWC




                                   Lemieux EPA March 1998
       Vulnerable Populations
• Asthma in Vermont
  – 41,000 adults
  – 13,000 children
• Chronic lung disease
  – 7,000 with emphysema
  – 26,000 with chronic bronchitis
• Children
  – Absorb more toxins per weight than adults
  – Second hand smoke increases respiratory tract
    infections, asthma, sudden infant death syndrome
    Vermont State Regulations on Open
                Burning
• Allowed (if not prohibited by local ordinances)
   – Campfires and outdoor barbecues
   – Burning of leaves, brush, deadwood, tree cuttings
   – Natural wood bonfires on festive occasions
• Illegal to burn
   –   Paper and cardboard
   –   Tires and other rubber products
   –   Treated, painted, or finished wood
   –   Tarpaper or asphalt shingles
   –   Plastics
   –   Garbage
Backyard Burning in Vermont
• 18,000 households

• 28 million pounds
 of trash annually




                The Herald of Randolph, VT 11/30/00
    Opinions Regarding Burn Barrels
•   28% burn household garbage and other materials
    (in burn barrel or other device)
Of those that burn household garbage
•   45% burn garbage because it is convenient
•   32% believe they are reducing waste
•   35% said that nothing would cause them to stop
    this practice
•   34% (ironically) believe there is not enough
    concern about the environment
                             Survey in Minnesota and Wisconsin
                             From ALA of Wisconsin
Alternatives to Backyard Burning
• Recycle               • Compost
  –   Newspaper           – Yard wastes
  –   Used oil            – Vegetable Scraps
  –   Plastic bottles   • Reuse
  –   Magazines           – Clothes
  –   Cans                – Donate to charity
  –   Glass             • Buy smart
  –   Cardboard           – Avoid unnecessary
  –   Office paper          packing

				
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