Montreal Public Health urges city to crack down on pollution from wood-burning stoves
Air quality standards need to be enforced, says Dr. David Kaiser
Montreal Public Health is calling on the city to take action when it comes to air pollution from businesses with wood-burning ovens, like bagel shops and pizzerias.
Researchers studied the impact of 40 wood-burning businesses in Ville-Marie and Plateau-Mont-Royal and found that the ovens impacted the air quality for immediate neighbours.
They took air quality samples in the areas where many of these businesses are clustered to see how residents' health might be impacted.
"There is a relationship between the distance from a business that has a wood-burning stove and the level of this indicator of air pollution," said Dr. David Kaiser, who worked on the study.
The report says that smoke from these businesses accounts for three per cent of the fine particle pollution in the city, a comparatively low piece of the pie compared to transport and industry players.
Kaiser said the results of the study were relatively intuitive, and that there is a well-documented connection between fine particle pollution and heart and lung diseases.
He said the aim of the study was to provide data to back up repeated calls for the city to enforce air quality limits that some businesses are exceeding.
"The city needs to have a regulatory approach to these businesses which allows them to bring them in line with air quality standards. How they get there is a question that is beyond us, but in both cases, we feel that it can be done in a fairly short time frame," he said.
Kaiser said the city should either focus on enforcing the current air quality regulations or craft a new bylaw requiring commercial ovens to be equipped with special filters or converted to hybrid stoves.
The City of Montreal says it's currently working on regulations and will present them later this year.
Limits have already been placed on residential wood-burning stoves, which cannot emit more than 2.5 grams of fine particles per hour under the bylaw.
Jean-François Parenteau, the city's executive committee member responsible for the environment, says he's working on a new regulation that aims to reduce commercial emissions by 85 per cent.
With files from Lauren McCallum