A Minnesota company that makes wood-fired home boilers is pushing back on new proposed federal standards to eliminate two-thirds of remaining pollutants in wood smoke.
Central Boiler officials argue the regulations are too much, too soon, Minnesota Public Radio reported . The company met the Environmental Protection Agency's 2015 standards that called for as much as a 90 percent reduction in fine particle emissions.
The microscopic particles in smoke can cause bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, or other serious respiratory diseases, and aggravate chronic heart and lung disease, according to the EPA.
Residential wood-burning appliances contributed 31 percent of fine particle emissions in 2014, according to the state Pollution Control Agency.
"This pollution is emitted very near the ground. So, this is very close to where peoples' breathing zones are," said Lisa Herschberger, a research scientist with the pollution control agency.
Minnesota DFL U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson sponsored legislation that would delay the rules from taking effect until 2023. It recently passed the U.S. House. The rules were originally proposed to take effect in 2020.
The additional time would give manufacturers more time to develop and tests products, said Rodney Tollefson, vice president of Central Boiler.
The proposed emission rules could add up to $1,500 to the cost of a unit if they take effect. The company has single residence models that cost $5,000 to $10,000, Central Boiler said.
Health and environmental experts say the stricter standards are necessary. The American Lung Association is against delaying the adoption of emission standards.
"A three-year delay is going to continue the problem further," said Robert Moffitt, communications director with the American Lung Association of Minnesota. There's already a lot of old stock installed in homes right now and the sooner we can get cleaner burning wood stoves into homes the sooner we'll start cleaning up the air quality.