RECALL FAULTY WOOD BURNING HEATERS
Environmentalists and health experts have demanded an
Australia-wide recall of thousands of faulty wood burning heaters following a
Federal Government report that suggests the majority fail to meet national air
The Department of Environment and Heritage tested 12 of
the most popular brand-new slow combustion wood heaters as part of a
National Audit Program. Nine of the
12 differed substantially from the design prototype used for air pollution
testing. In one case, the baffle
plates were changed, causing the heater to emit 3 times as much pollution as the
model used for air pollution testing.
In seven other cases, retail models had smaller primary
air inlets than those used in the air pollution tests. Smaller air inlets mean the fire can be
starved of oxygen, making it burn longer.
This may be more convenient for owners, but oxygen-starved fires cause
excessive pollution. One new heater
emitted 10 times more pollution than the version sent for air pollution testing.
Respiratory Physician and Chairman of the Tasmanian
Branch of the Australian Lung Foundation, Dr James Markos, said that woodsmoke
pollution has immediate and serious health effects, especially on those people
with lung disease.
“There is no safe level of exposure to particle
pollution. Over many years,
exposure has similar long-term consequences to environmental tobacco smoke,
including the risk of lung cancer and heart disease,” Dr Markos
Even heaters satisfying current emissions tests can, if
operated incorrectly, emit 10 times more smoke than the Australian standard – as
much particulate pollution in a single evening as the average passenger car
emits in an entire year.
Consequently, the Asthma Foundation of Tasmania believes that a ban on
woodheaters may be the only solution.
Spokesperson Cathy Beswick said: "Despite all the money
poured into education programs to teach people how to reduce the incidence of
woodsmoke from their heaters, and programs and incentives to replace them with
more efficient and environmentally friendly alternatives, we seem to have taken
two steps back rather than one step forward."
Environmentalist and Armidale Air Quality Group
Spokesperson, Dr Dorothy Robinson was also concerned that governments had spent
millions on woodsmoke reduction programs to remove older heaters and protect our
health, only to find that that the majority of the new ones on sale were no
“Car manufacturers issue product recalls when a serious
fault is found in a vehicle that may affect public safety; pharmaceutical
companies issue recalls when a product may affect public health.
“They advertise in the national media providing details
of their affected products; they offer to fix the problem for free or provide a
full refund to consumers.
“This Government Audit has found these wood burning
heaters are a threat to public health and the environment. Therefore, why
shouldn’t the wood heating industry now be required to recall all its faulty
products?” she asked.
Dr James Markos
Dr Dorothy Robinson
Australian Lung Foundation Asthma Foundation of Tasmaina Armidale Air Quality Group
Ph 03 6334 4676 Mob: 0407 869 767 02 6773 3209 or 02 6772 6475
www.lungnet.com.au www.asthmastas.org.au http://www.3sc.net/airqual