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We all deserve better air to breathe

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Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 6:01 am, Wed Jan 9, 2013.

Fireplace wood smoke is a genuine problem in the Valley. Unfortunately, California no longer has a population of 15 million people; it's more like 38 million people. With an increase in the population, the potential for air pollution has reached a health concern level.

I'm glad that the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has taken action on this fireplace wood-burning air pollution problem. In my neighborhood here in Lodi, the smoke from fireplaces can get thick. You can sometimes see the smoke pouring out of some chimneys like a steam locomotive from the 1800s.

My family has experienced breathing and other respiratory problems from wood smoke. It isn't a happy thing to see your family and other families suffering from something that really isn't necessary. Having to take medication and use an inhaler isn't a happy thing at all.

With the restrictions, retrofit incentives and the poor heating ability of standard fireplaces, it just doesn't make sense to burn wood anymore. We plan to install the natural gas insert in our fireplace to help the situation. It's time for better health for people in the Valley. Let's do our part to make it happen.

Ben Sanacore


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  • Ed Walters posted at 4:37 pm on Sat, Jan 12, 2013.

    the old dog Posts: 641

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge of asthma with me. From the list you presented, I might have to buy an mask and oxygen tank since many people use their fireplaces where I live. Many thanks again Dr. Kinderman [beam]

  • Patrick W Maple posted at 4:59 am on Sat, Jan 12, 2013.

    Pat Maple Posts: 1805

    Fireplaces? The government wants to ban them because it doesn't and can't regulate them like it does gas, propane, oil, cigarettes, cigars, (matches and lighters are probably next...maybe bbqs?)...regulation equals tax revenues, which gives the government power and legitimacy.

    As I have posted many times... on any given day, travel the Bay Area on any highway, by way or major road way or freeway and you will find the regular lanes (three to five) FULL of cars with one person in them while the commuter lane (one) is not. Yet, the state is building more roads and railroads to accommodate the liberal agenda (more power and money)...and if that is not the case, why not just require the computer/business people to telecommute?

    Telecommuting would take millions of cars off the roads each year, give the non commuters a pay raise, give those who must commute better access, lower insurance premiums for everyone, give people back 2-3 hours of their lives to spend with their kids or family, prevent injuries and clean the air. BOY...that was hard to figure out! Let's call it the Maple Mandatory Messless Commuting Movement.

  • Josh Morgan posted at 5:05 pm on Fri, Jan 11, 2013.

    Josh Morgan Posts: 542

    As time goes on some things change for the better. I believe the eventual elimination of wood burning fireplaces is one of them. Perhaps leaf blowers will be another.

  • Eric Barrow posted at 3:56 pm on Fri, Jan 11, 2013.

    Eric Barrow Posts: 1604

    Thank You Roy for goodness sake by a rake.

  • Sunny Samuels posted at 9:10 am on Fri, Jan 11, 2013.

    Sunny Samuels Posts: 61

    Mr Walters, Why do you resort to psedo-cussing in your post? First, Where did I state that I myself am a smoker? What if I have or do anyway, the US government deems smoking 100% legal to do here, as a matter of fact they love the imposed high tax revenues. I think that as long as I am not breaking the law you have no right to attack someone else about their habits. The way you are ranting you'd think I was slamming meth down on Sacramento street and you were trying to convince me to quit. I am very healthy which may be an enigma to you, but not only am I fine I work in the medical field. You would be surprised how many elderly people admit to be long time smokers but show no respiratory problems. Yes, people die , but for various reasons. It's not just cause and effect, some people just are lucky and have good DNA, some people are more sensitive to things and have a compromised immune system through no fault of their own. But all in all who are you to tell me that I am not allowed to do something that is legal for every adult? If someone enjoys smoking or cigars who are you to tell them they are stupid. How many people enjoy a cigar and some good scotch and who are you to tell them off? Is it ok for me to drink wine, are you against beer too? Not everybody lives your life and since you don't live theirs who are you to tell someone what they should or should not do? Even if I did smoke, there is a better chance that I could get killed driving down the freeway tomorrow. Although I'd hope one of the many air bags would save my life. Yes the Marlboro man died of lung cancer....Do you know who Jim Fixx is?He was a very known runner who wrote a book called The complete book of running, was credited with helping start America's fitness revolution, popularized the sport of running and demonstrated the health benefits of running. At the age of 52 he came home after his daily run and had a heart attack. I live in a place called Real-Ville, the only truth there is is that we are all going to die, no matter what we do or how hard we fight it-we are all going to die, the only variables are when and how.

  • roy bitz posted at 8:30 pm on Thu, Jan 10, 2013.

    roy bitz Posts: 503

    At least wood burning is limited to cold weather. Gas powered "leaf blowers" run everyday. They not only launch massive amounts of particulate-- theyears extremely noisy and nasty fumes.
    I will gladly give up my wood burning fire place when leaf blowers are banned.

  • Walter Chang posted at 4:27 pm on Thu, Jan 10, 2013.

    Walt Posts: 1191

    "worked up"

    Sunny, not asthma.


    From frequent bouts of being "flabbergasted".


  • Ed Walters posted at 12:15 pm on Thu, Jan 10, 2013.

    the old dog Posts: 641

    Sammuels: I could give a flying ##@%& about your health. Smoking kills 443,000 a year, second hand smoke kills 42,000 a year. It killed Donna Summer who never smoked a day in her life. You don`t have what it takes to upset me, and my brain cells are just fine. Keep smoking and it will eventually kill you. And speaking about Marlboro`s, it was smoking that killed the Marlboro Man. If you live to be 100, smoking will eventually take you down. You make a joke of asthma, look at the people that have it, then it would`t be a joke. If you had an X-ray of your lungs after all those years of smoking, whats left of your lungs would be black, so light up since nobody cares and keep believing your health is fine, it isn`t.

  • Thomas Heuer posted at 10:27 am on Thu, Jan 10, 2013.

    nth degree wise Posts: 1675

    Mr Tillet provided a link for information.
    Smoke has particulates that irritate eyes and lungs in most people.
    I know you are just responding to the word allergy but there is more to the smoke issue than simply Googleing "allergy".
    Your warm cozy scenario is really misleading.

  • Sunny Samuels posted at 8:49 am on Thu, Jan 10, 2013.

    Sunny Samuels Posts: 61

    FYI: The estimate to convert her fireplace to gas is $4,000+, her son owns a tree removal service so the cost of wood is not an issue as we have plenty. Sorry, but my lungs are not coated in filth, I have been an avid runner and cyclist since high school which was many many years ago and have had no problems breathing my 02 stats are fine. My grandfather is no longer with us, it wasn't smoking that killed him, it was the drunk driver who hit him that killed him, and my dad is still with us and enjoying his Marlboro's as he has everyday since before he enlisted in the military right out of high school. Sorry to burst your ill-conceived bubble about me and my health, as I am fine. I know my health and well-being must be frazzling your brain cells, as I'm sure you have been conditioned to believe by some report that I just must be on my death bed and hooked up to oxygen day in and day out because when my mom was pregnant with me it was deemed ok for women to drink and smoke, grew up with smokers and (gasp!) have always had a fireplace in my home. Please don't get worked up over my words and throw yourself into an asthma attack, as that would not be good for you delicate respiratory system.

  • Andrew Liebich posted at 8:13 am on Thu, Jan 10, 2013.

    Andrew Liebich Posts: 2999

    Wake Up! ...

  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 9:57 pm on Wed, Jan 9, 2013.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2370

    Mr. Walters -

    Actually, there are many things that can cause or exacerbate asthma or other breathing problems. For example:

    "Allergies with asthma is a common problem. Eighty percent of people with asthma have allergies to airborne substances such as tree, grass, and weed pollens, mold, animal dander, dust mites, and cockroach particles. In one study, children who had high levels of cockroach droppings in their homes were four times more likely to have childhood asthma than children whose homes had low levels. Asthma exacerbation after dust exposure is usually due to dust mite allergy.

    "Food preservatives can also trigger asthma. Sulfite additives, such as sodium bisulfite, potassium bisulfite, sodium metabisulfite, potassium metabisulfite, and sodium sulfite, are commonly used in food processing or preparation and may trigger asthma in those people who are sensitive." (

    In addition, the following items are known to trigger asthma issues:

    "Eggs, Cow's milk, Peanuts, Soy, Wheat, Fish, Shrimp and other shellfish, Salads & fresh fruits." (Ibid.)

    Wow! Now rather than eliminate these things from most peoples' everyday lives, there are remedies to control the symptoms of asthma:

    "Asthma treatment can vary from anti-inflammatory and bronchodilator asthma inhalers to oral medications to asthma drugs delivered in an asthma nebulizer or breathing machine. Get a better understanding of how asthma medications work so you'll know which medications can prevent asthma symptoms. Also, learn about natural asthma remedies and ways to monitor your breathing at home." (

    So while I sympathize with those who suffer with asthma, I cannot accept eliminating wood burning fireplaces as the answer; in my opinion it's doubtful that a significant number of asthma victims would be any better off.

    As I stated before, during the eight years I've lived in this apartment complex where every unit has a wood burning fireplace, to my knowledge not once has the Fire Department been called to hose one down.

    While your idea might be the pushing of a button to keep warm, others like to find other less automated ways to spend a cold, blustery or even rainy evening at home - like the enjoyment of a nice wood fire. For them, once may not be enough.

  • Ed Walters posted at 5:58 pm on Wed, Jan 9, 2013.

    the old dog Posts: 641

    Mr. Kinderman: I am not here to harp on anyone using a fireplace, your last line says it all, if folks were left alone to enjoy their lives inside their homes, that would be fine as far as I am concerned. However the smoke from a fireplace can affect anyone with asthma or other breathing problems and is another reason wood burning is limited to certain days. Along with the expense of having wood delivered and stacking it. One last thing, make sure the screen is placed in the proper position, wouldn`t want burning embers on the carpet, or put ashes in a plastic container. My idea of ambiance is pushing a button and heating the entire house at the same time. I did the fireplace thing once, once was enough.

  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 2:28 pm on Wed, Jan 9, 2013.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2370

    Mr. Walters -

    River's Edge Apartments are relatively nicely-appointed units that were built in the mid 1980's. Each unit does include a fireplace and as far as I know, there hasn’t been a fire here over the past eight years due to problems with one of the fireplaces (or for any other reason).

    Still, if Ms. Samuels wishes to spend her money on wood for her fireplace that sends 80% of its heat up the chimney that's completely up to her. If she also chooses to disobey the daily burning rules then she does so at her own personal risk; I hear that the fines can be quite steep. I used to receive a weekly update on burn days but no longer since I haven't used my fireplace here at River's Edge since 2006. I didn't like having to clean it up and I found the gas heating system to be more efficient. But this is my choice based upon my personal circumstances.

    I'm more concerned with the claims made by Mr. Sanacore in his LTE. Respiratory problems from wood burning fireplaces don't occur overnight. So I have to wonder why the Sanacore's are only now ". . . plan[ning] to install the natural gas insert in [their] fireplace to help the situation" considering that these inserts have been on the market for quite some time.

  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 12:40 pm on Wed, Jan 9, 2013.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2370

    I live in River's Edge Apartments. Yes, each unit is equipped with a fireplace. During my eight years here I used my fireplace during just the first year. Why? Well, for one thing, these fireplaces weren't designed very sufficiently insofar as heating the apartment is concerned. Sure, by sitting directly in front of it I got sufficiently toasty. But on those very cold nights (and even days) like we experienced during the last few weeks, my heater works just fine to heat the entire apartment. In short, the fireplaces were included more for show rather than for heating.

    On the other hand, I have no problem with anyone using their fireplace for ambiance or any other reason they choose. For centuries (many, many centuries) wood heat is how mankind survived. Trees are replaceable and the planet does a fine job cleaning itself. I am a proponent of good stewardship of our earthly home - but we are also here to enjoy life. Fireplace inserts cannot replace the ambiance and romance of a nice crackling wood fire. There's also nothing as nice as watching my dogs as they laid on their backs enjoying themselves in its warmth (when I did use my fireplace).

    Just yesterday I noticed that not only were our skies a vivid blue, but I saw nor smelled any pollution. Leave folks alone to enjoy their lives inside their homes.

  • Ed Walters posted at 12:21 pm on Wed, Jan 9, 2013.

    the old dog Posts: 641

    Sunny Samuels, does your mothers house resemble a log cabin, you know the kind with a pot belly stove in the middle. While I do not know the age of your MIL or the house she lives in, most if not all houses that were built in this century have a natural gas line running to the house, if you have it, use it. A fire place produces 20% of useable heat, the other 80% goes up the chimney and only heats the area the fire place is located. Does your MIL bring in her wood, why bother with wood as it is not afficent and wood is very expensive. Your father and grandfather smoked a pack of smokes a day, you didn`t say if they are still alive. There are people that can beat the odds, but I wouldn`t bet on it. Next time you go to your doctors office, have the nurse put an oxygen sensor on your finger, if it`s below 95 your lungs are loaded with smoke residue and your lungs are not getting enough oxygen.. Rivers Edge must have been built in the 1700 hundreds , hard to believe 100 units with fireplaces are still standing without some senior burning the place down. And last but not least, if the folks living at Rivers Edge are eldery do they carry wood to their appartments? Sunny it`s not Lodi`s idea about wood burning, this law is the EPA`s idea and everywhere in California. Perhaps you have been around a fireplace and inhaled to many smoke particles and has clouded your mind. Live long and prosper, go natural gas.

  • Sunny Samuels posted at 12:07 pm on Wed, Jan 9, 2013.

    Sunny Samuels Posts: 61

    Thats all good but like I said, Are city of Lodi employees going to have 24 hours access to find out if i have one of this use permits on file or are they just going to knock on all doors that have smoke in their chimney and ask to see their permits? This is probably just going to be one of those rules that are there but will not be enforced. How many city employees are going to be out driving around in the evenings to check for smoke in the air? Is this just one of those things where someone snitches on their neighbor. I guess my main question is how will it be enforced if at all.....since thats what the website states is that complaints are investigated when someone snitches on someone else. So you snitch on me, someone comes out. How does he or anyone else prove that I am burning wood or Duraflame clean burning logs. How is this going to be proven? What if I have both wood and duraflame logs and I tell them that the wood is only there for decoration. Does the smoke look different coming out of the chimney, no. Is it the county air district that has to prove that I am guilty, yes. Are people going to call just because they don't like their neighbor, yes. What happens when the are called back over and over to the same place to a home who either has a permit or is burning clean? You do see what I'm saying here right? I have been going over the reports and website you sent me and all i'm seeing is ozone measurements and how many hours we have gone above their goal amounts but nothing yet stating how many field complaints they have received and how many were investigated and proven that a resident was guilty for not following with the compliance. Did you read that they were fined for bad summer air, how do you blame fireplaces that are not in use for the bad ozone in the summer? I guess somehow you have to admit that the industrial businesses are mostly to blame, yet these companies can "buy" carbon credits so they can keep spewing out pollutuion and toxins into the that helping us really? So they are just paying more for business as usual. How does that help those people who do have respiratory problems? It doesn't.

  • Jeff Tillett posted at 10:08 am on Wed, Jan 9, 2013.

    Jeff Tillett Posts: 559

    Looks like your "What if...?!" has already been addressed by way of an exemption.
    "This form is to be used for requesting an exemption from the mandatory curtailment requirement in Section 5.6 of Rule 4901... The rule does give provisions where wood-burning devices could be used during a declared event. These include wood burning devices that are: (1) in locations where natural gas is not available, or (2) the sole source of heat in a residence."

    Also, this is not a "Lodi" thing, it's a San Joaquin Valley thing...

  • Sunny Samuels posted at 9:32 am on Wed, Jan 9, 2013.

    Sunny Samuels Posts: 61

    Just 2 things, what about homes in Lodi that only have a fireplace for heat? My MIL's house only has a wood burning stove and a fire place for heat-what happens when mom's SS doesn't allow her enough money to buy a gas insert? And Rivers Edge, the apartment complex on Pioneer has over 100 units all with fireplaces. My friend lives there, are they going to run new gas outlets and buy over 100 new gas inserts for the units? In this day and age when we have pollution from cars and industrial companies spewing toxins into the air you only want to attack the little guy. I hope you don't drive with your windows rolled down. You'd think I'd be a sickling from being around smoke my whole life, my grandfather smoked at least a pack a day and so did my dad, yet I have never had any respiratory issues. I love my fireplace and will keep burning. Thank Gad I'm not under Lodi's thumb. Like they have nothing better to do then drive around looking for chimney smoke and asking to see their Duraflame clean burning logs.


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