Cooper J.A., Environmental Impact of Residential Wood Combustion Emissions and its Implications, Air Pollution Control Association Journal, 30 (8), 855-861, 1980 Aug.

"The chemical products formed in the combustion of wood have been studied primarily in terms of the major products of combustions such as water and carbon dioxide and minor components such as CO, HCl, SOx, NOx, etc. Two recent studies however measured over a hundred different chemicals and compound groups in emissions from burning wood and wood-burning stoves. The results from these studies showed smoke from wood and wood-burning stoves and fireplaces contained

Other toxic gases such as CO, noxious and respiratory irritants such as aldehydes, phenols, etc were also found. Even dioxins have been identified in fireplace soot."

Table VI. (See Footnote for AS4103 stoves)
Emissions of major pollutants from residential wood combustion sources

Wood-burning stoves


Chemical Species g/kg wood % particulates g/kg wood % particulates
Carbon monoxide 160   22  
Volatile hydrocarbons 2   19  
Condensable organics 4.9 58 6.7 74
Particulates 3.6 42 2.4 26
Total particulates 8.5 100 9.1 100
Polycyclic organic material 0.3 3.5 0.03 0.3
Benzo(a)pyrene 0.0025 0.03 0.00073 0.008
Carcinogens 0.038 0.45 0.0059 0.06
Priority pollutants 0.41 4.8 0.063 0.7
Organic carbon 4.2 49 4.2 46
Elemental carbon 0.7 8 1.2 13

Note: This paper was published in 1980. An AS4013 stove must emit less than 5.5 g/kg of particulates, averaged over low, medium and high burn rates. Thus a correctly-operated AS4013 stove should have at least 35% fewer emissions. However, low burn rates produce significantly worse emissions. A stove rated at 5 g/kg would probably emit similar amounts of pollution to the above table on low burn rate. If operated incorrectly (eg by loading wood and not keeping on the highest possible setting until 20% of wood had been consumed), emissions could be 10 times higher than the table.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarcarbon emissions from woodstoves vs open fires and enclosed coal stoves was also investigated by: I H Zeedikj (1985). Polycyclic armomatic hydrocarbon concentrations in smoke aerosol of domestic stoves burning wood and coal. Eindhoven University of Technology, Dept. Chemical Engineering, Laboratory of Instrumental ANalysis, PO Box 153, The Netherlands.

This extract shows Table 3 from his paper. Zeedikj notes that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarcarbon (PAH) emissions from woodstoves vary a factor of 2.4, according to the burn rate and the burn cycle. Emissions are much lower in the latter part of the cycle. Zeedikj reported average over all burn rates and sampled the entire cycle. This, or simple sampling variation, may explain the difference between estimates of 5.8 mg of benzo(a)pyrene per kg of fuel from Zeedijk vs 2.5 mg/kg from Cooper above.

Table 3. Emissions of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (mg/kg of fuel).
(The first four - benzo(a)pyrene, benzo(k)fluoranthene, dibenzo(a,h)anthracene and benzo(g,h,i)perylene are highly toxic)

Wood stove


Coal stove

benzo(a)pyrene 5.8 0.5 1.0
benzo(k)fluoranthene 11.2 0.3 1.6
dibenzo(a,h)anthracene 1.7 0.1 1.2
benzo(g,h,i)perylene 13.0 0.3 1.4
fluoranthene 12.5 2.3 1.5
pyrene 15.8 2.9 6.4
benzo(a)anthracene 3.7 2.0 2.8
chrysene 16.3 2.2 9.9
benzo(b)fluoranthene 11.2 0.3 1.6
indeno(1,2,3,c,d)pyrene 4.7 0.4 3.9

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