Enjoying our beautiful vineyards in the most temperate island in the world, Tasmania, Australia....then forestry burns.
Day turns into night and the harmful toxic muck falls out of the sky for us to breathe.
Tasmania has put forestry before health with its deliberate pernicious planned burn smoke since 1960.
We are fighting for our lives because of environmental smoke pollution.
This site has gone global, please visit woodburnersmoke.net and BurningIssues.org
per·ni·cious [par níshass] adj.
1. causing serious harm: causing great harm, destruction, or death.
Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
Forestry blame wood heaters for causing all the smoke, but...
In 2008 the total particle emissions to the Tasmanian airshed from heavy-fuel forestry industry planned burns alone, is estimated to have been in the range of 86,000 to 120, 000 tonnes of particles after consuming 7.2 million tonnes of wood - EPA Division Tasmania 2009.
To bring this into perspective, 86,000 to 120,000 tonnes of 'treebacco' particles corresponds to somewhere between the particles released into our airshed from 6.45 trillion and 9.15 trillion cigarettes.
"In 2008 forest industry planned burns were likely to have contributed to the Tasmanian airshed between seventeen and twenty four times the particle pollution produced by domestic wood heaters (86,000 to 122,000 tonnes from planned forest burns compared to 5,000 tonnes from domestic heaters)" - EPA Tas.
Read the full report and see the pie charts below:
Pollution figures were officially 'underestimated'
This is an estimate of particle emissions to the Tasmanian airshed for 2008.
The figures will vary from year to year for a number of reasons.
This does not provide any information on population exposure but it was known to be high.
Deliberately lit forestry fires (planned burns/logging burns/regeneration burns/ plantation burns) what ever they like to call them produce these large quantities of smoke across Tasmania, Australia, which people are forced to breathe.
Planned clearing should not mean planned burning.
Alternatives to burning are now encouraged because they have less impact on air quality and are more environmentally sustainable.- Aust. Govt. Dept. of Environment -Smoke from Biomass Burning.
This smoke is causing misery to many people in the short term, and the long term effects on the whole Tasmanian population are huge.
Tobacco smoke is burning vegetation. Forestry 'treebacco' smoke is also burning vegetation!
Asthma Foundation Tasmania still refuses to lobby against planned burning for asthmatics !!...... see the Asthma Pages
Millions of dollars are spent annually educating people about the harmful effects of cigarette smoke and yet Tasmanians are being made to 'smoke' this forestry residue.
The major toxic component of tobacco smoke is particulate matter. So, is it ok to be smothered in forestry smoke but deadly to inhale cigarette smoke?
A study for the US EPA, using tumour initiation tests on mice and Ames tests on bacteria,
concluded that woodsmoke is in fact 12 times as mutagenic (likely to cause cancer) as the same quantity of tobacco smoke.
Burning solid fuel yields particulate pollution - solid particles smaller than a red blood cell which have been implicated in 2.1 million deaths world wide per year. "Particulate pollution is the most important contaminant in our air. ...we know that when particle levels go up, people die. " -Joel Schwartz, Ph.D., Harvard School of Public Health, E Magazine, Sept./Oct. 2002
Indeed, wood smoke is chemically active in the body 40 times longer than tobacco.- Wm. A Pryor, Persistent Free Radicals in Woodsmoke: An ESR Spin Trapping Study, Free Radical Biology and Medicine 1989, 7(1): 17-21
Particulate Matter Mortality:
"Based on reviews of the latest scientific literature, the Air Resources Board staff has concluded that particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) is much more toxic than previously estimated. New research suggests that even small increases in exposure increase the potential for earlier deaths." (CEPA - California Environmental Protection Agency)
BEWARE: This smoke is damaging you and your family's health and our environment.
Our Health Department and Environment Division should be especially concerned about small-particle pollution.
The tiniest particles can penetrate past the body's immune defences, travelling deep into the lungs and the bloodstream causing all sorts of other health problems you would never think had come from this toxic smoke.
If you are a non-smoker, then why are you being made to inhale forestry's harmful smoke?
If a cigarette smoker, or domestic wood heater owner constantly blew smoke into people’s faces they would be fined. Why then are forestry treated any differently?
Forestry are not even interested in the tons of wood they burn or the tons of smoke they release.
From information released under Freedom of Information:-
Between the 28/3/2008 and 4/7/2008 Forestry Tasmania conducted 536 planned burns.
Between the 28/3/2008 and 4/7/2008 the private forests conducted 450 planned burns.
Some of these burns lasted for days and smouldered much longer.
There are other smokeless methods available to forestry to get rid of their rubbish.
Our health does not fit in with forestry's polluting timetable.
The lifetime of PM 2.5 particle pollution is from days to weeks and their travel distance ranges from 100 to greater than 1000 kilometres (NRDC, 2000)
The dust storms from central Australia in 2009 had PM10's travel over 2000Km, and yet our forest industries deliberately burn large numbers of the more damaging PM2.5 smoky fires a short distance upwind of populated areas in our small state (see NASA Modis satelite image below).
Any smoke causes distress, and can eventually cause death. For this reason there can be no more deals or compromises being done to allow forestry planned burns to continue. When it comes to Tasmanian's health this should be non negotiable.
The elderly, newborns, children, adults who exercise rigorously and those with existing heart and lung disease are most at risk for premature death due to particle pollution exposure. (American Lung Association, "The Perils of Particulates")
Asthma is the most common reason for trips to the emergency department and for hospital stays. It’s also one of the most common reasons for a visit to the doctor, and the number one cause of school absenteeism.
Our children in particular should not be subjected to this pollution. If you can smell smoke it means you are breathing it.
"Children exposed to smoke in early childhood, have a higher risk of developing childhood asthma. Asthma cannot be cured." - Asthma Foundations Australia.
Tasmania has the highest rate of asthma in Australia. Out of a population of 500,000 there are 65,000 with asthma (this does not include other lung conditions like COPD, bronchitis, etc.) and there are 15,000 children with the disease.
Asthma in particular has become a major epidemic and has been linked to poor air quality. Air containing large amounts of particulate matter as well as high ozone levels can trigger asthma attacks and COPD lung attacks.
COPD attacks cause lasting damage--the patient's lung function will never be the same again.
"COPD attacks are not just a symptom of COPD, they actually cause the disease to progress" - Dr. Bourbeau, Canadian Thoracic Society 2/2010.
'Smoke management' means stopping the smoke at the source.
Not putting our people on drugs while the smoke continues.
Refer to the Asthma page.
The burners are saying "fight fire with fire"
No, fight fire with sufficient water, FAST!
Residents and visitors to Tasmania expect a clean and healthy environment.
Councils recognise the harmful effects of tobacco smoke and have designated smoke free public places to make our state a cleaner and healthier place to live and visit.
Forestry smoke is so bad the forest industries have agreed to hide it when tourists come to the state.
"Burning will be managed to minimise the risk of adverse impact on significant tourism events or in major holiday periods such as Easter." - Good Neighbour Charter for Commercial Forestry in Tasmania 2008.
Our government has had years to fix this harmful pollution.
They know Tasmania has the highest incidence of asthma in Australia (Asthma Foundation), and they know 3 out of 4 people have a chronic health condition like cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma and diabetes, that prevents them from working. (Health Minister statement to Damien Brown-Mercury 2/12/2009).
All these diseases have been linked in world wide studies to particulate matter.
It is a basic human right to be able to breathe clean air and to go outside as you wish.
Why should we be forced into our 'shelters' while forestry fire bomb us from outside.
This is deprivation of liberty.
"The resilience of the community of life and the well-being of humanity depend upon preserving a healthy biosphere with all its ecological systems, a rich variety of plants and animals, fertile soils, pure waters, and clean air." - Earth Charter
Many credible scientific studies link air pollution to sickness, diseases, and death in humans and in animals.
“Air pollution is the hidden cause of deaths that were previously attributed to other causes” - Californian Environmental Protection Agency
Please read this article before you turn the page...
Particle Pollution Linked to Deep Vein Thrombosis and Blood Clots
The Environment Protection Policy (Air Quality) 2004 provides a framework for the management and regulation of both point and diffuse sources of emissions to air for pollutants with the potential to cause environmental harm. The Policy was made on 13 December 2004 and came into effect on 1 June 2005.
The environmental values to be protected under the Air Quality Policy are:
The life, health and well-being of humans
The life, health and well-being of other forms of life
This is not what is happening.
Public & Environmental Health Department:
You may also have further reasons to call the Department of Health and Community Services, Public and Environmental Health Department.
Phone 1800 671 738 (24 Hours a day/7 Days a week) and lodge a complaint. You may be asked or want to email your complaint to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Environmental smoke is a serious environmental health matter. DHHS are not just a health referral agency.
DHHS cannot refuse to deal with your health complaint.
*** OPERATION SMOKE WATCH ***
A smoke watch trial is being conducted in Northern Tasmania with regards to environmental smoke pollution.
Tell cleanairtas where it is coming from. Email the details, ie, date, time, duration of burn, wind direction, and any photos, etc., to cleanairtas.
Thank you for your participation. It is YOUR health, your LIFE.
Do this every day smoke annoys, harms, or worries you.
Disclaimer: While every care has been taken in the preparation of material for this website,
we do not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions nor for
the result of actions taken on the basis of this information.
This site does not contain medical advice. People visiting this site should work out what is best for them and act accordingly.
Note: The word "forestry" refers to the forestry industry, not just to Forestry Tasmania, now STT.
It is possible some website content has appeared without credits. Please advise the source if known so
that due credit can be given.
12/5/2009 - Launceston, a city of over 100,000 people, inhaled smoke from this deliberate act of planned burning.
Report smoke to the EPA:
Notification of Pollution Incidents:
To notify the EPA of a pollution incident or to lodge a complaint, telephone the Pollution Incidents and Complaints Hotline number 1800 005 171. This number is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
EPA email reporting: Emails are attended to during office hours Monday to Friday 8.00am to 5.00pm
Seeing an average adult breathes 11,000 litres of air a day (7-8 litres a minute) fine particle pollution from the smoke of burnt logging rubbish, poses a significant health threat for some of our most valuable and vulnerable people in our community. Children, adolescents, seniors, people with asthma and chronic lung diseases, people with chronic heart disease and diabetics are most at risk, but this effects you too.
Foetuses and young children are more vulnerable for several reasons: Their biological defence mechanisms are still forming, and they can not detoxify harmful substances and repair damage the way adults can. Children breathe 20-50% more air when playing outside, ie, more air than adults on a pound-for-pound basis. They spend more time in general outside and are unable to recognize warning signs during polluted days like headaches and shortness of breath - signs that would drive adults to try and avoid the pollution.
This mainstream smoke leaves toxic particulate residue which clings to hair, clothing and bedding and has been found to be dangerous to children. The residue includes toxins and carcinogens that young children can get on their hands and ingest, especially if they’re crawling or playing on the floor, or near any soft furnishings. It can set off a serious asthma attack for what appears to be no apparent reason.
These events are not smoke free at all.
This article (left) formed part of a bigger article in the Examiner on 16.11.2014.
Many events in Tasmania have cigarette smoking bans and yet whilst these smoke free events are being held our population as a whole is being subjected to higher levels of ambient air particulate matter from wood smoke.
It does not make sense to only ban cigarettes when, "Wood smoke is chemically active in the body 40 times longer than tobacco smoke, and wood smoke is 12 times more likely to cause cancer than the same amount of tobacco smoke"- William Pryor, PhD, University of Louisiana,
And Tasmanian smoke goes into Victoria.
Read what DEPI Vic has to say.
Smoke comes into Tasmania from Victorian planned burns on 1/4/2015.
(See NASA Modis satelite image below).