Health effects of smoke from wood burning fires

R Roddick made this Official Information request to Ministry of Health

Response to this request is long overdue. By law Ministry of Health should have responded by now (details and exceptions). You can complain to the Ombudsman.

From: R Roddick

Dear Ministry of Health,

Please provide the Ministry’s stated view on impact on health of exposure to smoke from wood burning fires.

Does the Ministry disagree with the findings by NSW Government, see
http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment...

Would the Ministry consider that exposure to smoke from a wood burning fire on a daily basis for over six months per year to be unlikely to affect a persons health either in the current or long term?

Yours faithfully,

R Roddick

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Ministry of Health


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Kia ora,

First, I'd like to apologise for not responding sooner. We did not receive
your request and only found it in the course of following up something
else. I've corrected the email used by FYI.org and hope that will prevent
missing an OIA request again.

We are not sure what the specific information is that you wanted us to
comment on.

However, if your concern relates to whether New Zealand has appropriate
controls over smoke from wood burning fires and stoves, then you can be
reassured that the Ministry for the Environment has National Environmental
Standards for Air Quality (the Standards) and also a specific National
Standard for wood-burners, regulations made under the Resource Management
Act 1991.  These Standards aim to set a guaranteed minimum level of health
protection from air pollution, including wood and coal burning fires, for
all New Zealanders.  Information about the Standards can be found at:
[1]http://www.mfe.govt.nz/air/national-envi...

Information on Ministry for the Environment's web site on wood burners can
be found at:
[2]http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/air/...

If you have any further queries about air quality and the Standards,
please contact [email address]

Kind regards,

Chris Fletcher l OIA Co-ordinator
[MOH request email]
Government Relations l Office of the Director General

[3]http://www.health.govt.nz

From: R Roddick

February 09, 2016

Dear Ministry of Health,

 Please provide the Ministry’s stated view on impact on health of
 exposure to smoke from wood burning fires.

 Does the Ministry disagree with the findings by NSW Government, see
[4]http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment...,

 Would the Ministry consider that exposure to smoke from a wood burning
fire on a daily basis for over six months per year to be unlikely to
affect a persons health either in the current or long term?

 Yours faithfully,

 R Roddick

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References

Visible links
1. http://www.mfe.govt.nz/air/national-envi...
2. http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/air/...
3. http://www.health.govt.nz/
4. http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment

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From: R Roddick

Dear Ministry of Health,

Thank you for your email and explanation regarding the delay.

I am specifically interested in the Ministry of Health's stated position on the health impact (whether the Ministry considers the health effects are positive or negative) of repeated and prolonged exposure to smoke emitted by wood burning fires (i.e. chimneys).

I would also be interested if the Ministry has considered the health effects (again, whether positive or negative) of the chemicals produced by smoke from chimneys (e.g. carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and particulate matter, etc). The Ministry may have considered this previously in respect of cigarette smoke and your comments on these chemicals in respect of cigarette smoke would be relevant).

Finally, what is the Ministry's view (either agreement or disagreement) with the findings of the NSW Government (see earlier request).

Thank you for your referrals to the Ministry for the Environment. I am aware of these and my questions relate to health effects (and not environmental regulation).

Kind regards,

Rochelle

Yours faithfully,

R Roddick

Link to this

Ministry of Health


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Kia ora,

R Roddick wrote:
I am specifically interested in the Ministry of Health's stated position
on the health impact (whether the Ministry considers the health effects
are positive or negative) of repeated and prolonged exposure to smoke
emitted by wood burning fires (i.e. chimneys).

Our response:
The Ministry of Health supports the Ministry for the Environment's advice
on air quality and the requirements of the NES for air quality and wood
burners. The NES include consideration of health effects.

R Roddick wrote:
I would also be interested if the Ministry has considered the health
effects (again, whether positive or negative) of the chemicals produced by
smoke from chimneys (e.g. carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and particulate
matter, etc).

Our response:
As noted above, the NES includes consideration of health effects.
Information about the health effects from air pollutants is available on
the Ministry for the Environment's website. Information about the harmful
effects of tobacco smoke are found on the Ministry of Health's website at
[1]www.health.govt.nz.

For example this link is to a report that  analyses the smoke emissions
from several ‘regular’ and ’mild’ brands of loose (Roll-Your-Own) tobacco
available in New Zealand and a manufactured cigarette:
[2]http://www.health.govt.nz/publication/ma...

R Roddick wrote:
Finally, what is the Ministry's view (either agreement or disagreement)
with the findings of the NSW Government (see earlier request).

Our response:
As we advised, we are not sure what the specific information is that you
wanted us to comment on as the link takes us to a general environmental
health page and the various links from that page we accessed were
relatively general or dated (Australian air quality standards from the
late 1990s).However, the NESs for air quality and woodburners has been
developed for the New Zealand context and protects health and the
environment from the adverse effects of woodsmoke (among other things).
The NES is given effect through regional and district plans at a local
level. If you have any specific concerns about air quality where you live,
you are best to raise these concerns with your regional council as they
will be able to advise you what the regional air qwuality plan says and
what their monitoring results are showing.,

R Roddick wrote:
Thank you for your referrals to the Ministry for the Environment.  I am
aware of these and my questions relate to health effects (and not
environmental regulation).

Our response:
As noted above, the Ministry for the Environment included a consideration
of health effects when developing the NES for air quality and woodburners.
In other words, these NESs protect health as well as the environment. As I
previously noted, you need to contact MfE with any further queries about
air quality, including the prevention of health risks from air pollutants.

Kind regards,

Chris Fletcher l OIA Co-ordinator
[MOH request email]
Government Relations l Office of the Director General

[3]http://www.health.govt.nz

From:        R Roddick <[FOI #3620 email]>
To:        [MOH request email],
Date:        15/03/2016 09:10 p.m.
Subject:        RE: Health effects of smoke from wood burning fires

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear Ministry of Health,

Thank you for your email and explanation regarding the delay.

I am specifically interested in the Ministry of Health's stated position
on the health impact (whether the Ministry considers the health effects
are positive or negative) of repeated and prolonged exposure to smoke
emitted by wood burning fires (i.e. chimneys).

I would also be interested if the Ministry has considered the health
effects (again, whether positive or negative) of the chemicals produced by
smoke from chimneys (e.g. carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and particulate
matter, etc).  The Ministry may have considered this previously in respect
of cigarette smoke and your comments on these chemicals in respect of
cigarette smoke would be relevant).

Finally, what is the Ministry's view (either agreement or disagreement)
with the findings of the NSW Government (see earlier request).

Thank you for your referrals to the Ministry for the Environment.  I am
aware of these and my questions relate to health effects (and not
environmental regulation).

Kind regards,

Rochelle

Yours faithfully,

R Roddick

show quoted sections

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