Residential heating with wood and coal: health impacts and policy options in Europe and North America




2015, viii + 49 pages
ISBN 978 92 890 5076 0

Residential heating with wood and coal is an important source of ambient (outdoor) air pollution; it can also cause substantial indoor air pollution through either direct exposure or infiltration from outside. Evidence links emissions from wood and coal heating to serious health effects such as illness and death from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Burning wood and coal also emits carcinogenic compounds. 

The report describes the health effects of and policy options for dealing with residential heating with wood and coal in Europe and the United States. The results presented indicate that it will be difficult to tackle problems with outdoor air pollution in many parts of the world without addressing this source sector. National, regional and local administrations, politicians and the public at large need a better understanding of the role of wood biomass heating as a major source of harmful outdoor air pollutants (especially fine particles). This report is intended to help increase such an understanding.