Clean air on the way?

Study in Montana shows wood-stove regulation produces cleaner air

As Chico is about halfway through its first winter attempting to curb air pollution through the regulation of wood-stove use, a study on a small town in Montana indicates the answer might be replacing old, inefficient units.

Libby, Mont., replaced 1,200 wood stoves with newer, more efficient models and has reported 30 percent less airborne particulate pollution over the course of a four-year study, according to the Missoulian. There was also a decline in reports of childhood wheeze, a condition commonly linked to asthma. The $2 million program was funded by government sources as well as organizations representing wood-stove manufacturers.

“The feedback we’ve received is that not only is the air visibly cleaner and it smells cleaner and the snow is not turning gray, but people are having an easier time breathing,” said Kathi Hooper, director of the Health Department of Lincoln County, Mont.