Interventions to address poor air quality from wood heaters – efforts from Tasmania

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Date(s) - 2017/04/11
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

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Date and Time: 11/04/2017, 1:00 PM NZST (11:00 AM AEST)

Speaker: Dr. Fay Johnston (About)

Fay Johnston is a public health physician and environmental epidemiologist from the Menzies Institute for Medical Research, Hobart; and Public Health Services DHHS Tasmania. Fay is recognized for her expertise in the health impacts of outdoor smoke from bush fires, prescribed burns, wood heaters and other solid fuels. She likes to work closely with government agencies and practitioners to develop and implement applied, policy relevant research.

Many Australians live in towns that do not meet national air quality standards, due to seasonal air pollution from domestic wood stoves. The problem is particularly severe in the state of Tasmania where 30 percent of households use wood as their main method of heating. In the webinar Dr. Johnston will describe the varying success of different approaches that have been tried to address the problem, including a heater buy-back scheme, community wide distribution of firebox catalysts, and community education campaigns.


The webinar is co-hosted by CAR group. The Centre for Air quality and health Research and evaluation (CAR) is a Centre of Research Excellence funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

The webinar will be live and will be followed by a brief Q&A session.

Watch LIVE:


    • Profile photo of Ayushi Kachhara

      Hi Kevin, unfortunately our webinar interactions are only forum-based, meaning it can only be viewed and if you would like to ask questions you can type them in and we will make sure they are answered. We do this to manage controls easily in case we have high number of live viewers. Thank you.

  1. Profile photo of Dr Dorothy L Robinson

    A NSW EPA Consultancy report identified 3 extremely cost-effective measures – not permitting new log-burning heaters to be installed, requiring existing heaters to be removed when houses are sold, and requiring a small ‘polluter-pays’ annual licence for wood heaters that could help fund education and home insulation programs and replacing wood heating with non-polluting alternatives. These 3 measures were estimated to reduce the $8 billion health cost (over 20 years) of woodsmoke in NSW by at least 75%.
    Thanks to the recent efficiency improvements, modern heater air-conditioners are affordable (cheaper than buying a wood heater), cause less global warming (zero in households that use green power) and have lower running costs than buying firewood.
    If everyone knew and understood the health problems of breathing woodsmoke, and the low cost of non-polluting heating, do you think people would support the 3 cost-effective measures identified in the NSW EPA report?

  2. Christine Cowie


    Hi Fay,

    Thans for the presentation. Do you have any ideas why the difference between mortality rates in males and females? Thx, Christine

  3. Christine Cowie


    Do we need to think about saturating all the home improvement, home beautiful magazines and shows with information on polluting sources of household heaters?

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