The mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, says he wants to cut down on air pollution by placing a ban on all new wood burning fireplaces, according to the Washington Post.  The mayor wants new fireplaces to use alternative methods of fuel such as natural gas which would not emit as many pollutants into the air as burning real wood .

“This city has a legacy of leading the nation when it comes to protecting the health and safety of our environment”, Mayor de Blasio stated on Earth Day in April.  “Today’s reforms – the biggest in a generation-will make a fundamental difference for thousands of New Yorkers  living with asthma and pave the way for other cities around the nation to follow suit,” he said.

New York City dwellers love the look and feel of a wood burning fireplace in their apartments.  Despite the hassle of bringing home real wood, the ambiance of a fireplace is definitely a plus when friends gather for a glass of wine or a couple snuggles up for a romantic evening.  Now fireplace lovers are required to burn logs with less than 20% moisture since they give off less smoke.

There are about 3,300 wood burning fireplaces in New York.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency figures, each wood burning fireplace gives off 6,200 grams of “particulate matter” each year.   These small particles can cause problems for people with heart and respiratory illnesses.

Many residents burn the wood just for pleasure, not as their main heat source so there is sometimes a little guilt associated with their wood burning and potential harm to the environment.  But one resident says that he always burns Duraflame logs since they burn faster and with less smoke.

The new regulations will not apply to restored fireplaces.  In older apartments, a wood burning fireplace is still a coveted asset among real estate agents and apartment hunters.


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