In the winter, wood burning is the largest single source of Bay Area air pollution, according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD). Still, that doesn’t seem to motivate people to stop using their wood-burning fireplaces and stoves. Perhaps money will talk.
To help improve air quality, some Marin residents may qualify for the BAAQMD’s Wood Smoke Reduction Incentive Program, which provides grant funding to help lower the cost of replacing a wood-burning stove with cleaner options. Funding is also available to help homeowners permanently decommission their working fireplaces and wood stoves.
The goal of both programs is to improve local air quality. The BAAQMD says that by removing your fireplace, you can prevent over 300 pounds of toxic chemicals from being emitted into the air every year.
We know people love their wood-burning stoves. They make you feel cozy, and the flames are mesmerizing. Unfortunately, fireplace smoke contains particulate matter and chemicals that can adversely affect our health.
The small particles enter our eyes, respiratory system and bloodstream. Chemicals emitted from wood fires include toxic substances such as benzene, formaldehyde, acrolein and methane. Study after study reports that wood smoke can harm folks with existing health conditions, making it difficult to breathe, causing an asthma attack or bronchitis, and aggravating heart and lung disease.
So, who’s eligible for the BAAQMD money? You must reside in designated, highly impacted and high wood-smoke areas. In Marin, that includes Point Reyes, Inverness, Nicasio, Bolinas, Stinson, the San Geronimo Valley, Sausalito, Marin City and some parts of San Rafael. To see whether you qualify, visit www.baaqmd.gov/funding-and-incentives/residents/wood-smoke-rebate. For questions about the programs, call 415.749.5195 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be a hero and help improve Marin’s air quality.