A message taken from a mailing list by one of our patron's, Kirk Smith, in one of his recent stove-related messages highlighting a new article 'Dioxin inhalation doses from wood combustion in indoor cookfires' in the journal Atmospheric Environment.

You can read the article here.

<i>Although we have focused on particles and carbon monoxide in assessing household air pollution, there is actually a rather large array of other nasty compounds in the smoke from incomplete combustion of simple biomass fuel. Indeed, there are significant amounts of many toxins that have the reputation of being products of industrial processes with greatest exposures near to industries or among workers in them.

Below we show, for example, that dioxin, what some have called the most toxic substance in the world (with some hyperbole) and is usually associated with incineration of waste plastics, is found in significant amounts in biomass smoke in village households. Indeed, although we do not know yet for sure, I will offer a bet that the largest total dose to each of the following major "industrial" chemicals occur in solid-fuel using households worldwide, in exposure settings that have changed little in 350,000 years (when humans first started using fires daily for cooking):
  • Dioxin
  • Formaldehyde
  • Benzene
  • PAHs in total and for many specific ones, such as BAP
  • Black carbon particles
  • Ultrafine particles
  • As well as several others are candidates


Kirk Smith</i>