Wood Smoke Stories

“Heavily exposed daily” to OWB smoke

Dr Brown of Harvard and Yale found in his research that if you live within 2,000' of a point source emission of an OWB your exposure increases your risks for heart disease, cancer and pulmonary disease by in some cases as much as 600%

My wife and I had a second home in a pristine beautiful section of Maine on a lake. Across the street 700' away was an OWB which was just starting to operate. The homeowner modified his burner to not only burn wood but also waste oil. We lived down slope and for about 3 months we were heavily exposed daily, even occasionally in the summer months.

We complained to the homeowner and he said so what I’m grandfathered. We complained to the state and they shut down the waste oil burn but could do nothing about the wood burning even though he was overstocking the burner and burning at a high frequency. The state authorities confided that the state had set up reasonable regulations and guidelines but before enactment and implementation the industry lobbyist came in and handed the legislature what would become the state’s rules and regulations. In short literally no power.

In 2008 my wife, my dog and myself developed respiratory issues which we’d never had, and which all 3 still have today. In late 2008 having never had any heart issues I developed A-Fib and needed an ablation which was performed in February 2009. My cardiologist, who was the head of the Cardiology Section of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, told me and also wrote that it was his belief that the A-Fib was brought on by the OWB.

We sued the neighbor and through mediation he removed his OWB if we dropped our lawsuit. We did and he removed the OWB. Final note — when all was agreed to, he looked horrible with a gray pallor and constant coughing. We sold that house a couple of years later. He put his property up for sale as well and we never learned what became of him and his family.