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  • Woodstove smoke - a source of winter air pollution in Oregon
     
    With cooler temperatures in Oregon, it is a perfect time to talk about woodstove smoke. If not used correctly, woodstoves can emit a lot of smoke, which is bad news for both the environment and your health.
     
    Consider this: It only takes 20 of the older, non-certified woodstoves to emit more than 1 ton of fine particular pollution (called PM2.5) into the air. The problem gets bigger when you realize people burn more than 10 million woodstoves in just the United States. 
     
    Smoke from wood-burning stoves and fireplaces contain a mixture of harmful gases and small particles. Breathing these small particles can cause asthma attacks and severe bronchitis, aggravate heart and lung disease and increase the likelihood of respiratory illnesses.
     
    Fortunately, burning smart is fairly easy to do.
    • Burn only wood. No garbage, plastics, rubber, paint or oil, briquettes, paper, etc. Burning these items releases harmful chemicals into the air. 
    • Build small, hot fires instead of large, smoldering ones. 
    • Don't "bed the fire down" for the night. Holding a fire overnight is a fire hazard and can create serious indoor and outdoor air pollution problems. 
    • Open your damper if the smoke is dark. Dark smoke indicates more pollution is being produced and fuel is being wasted. 
    • Keep your stove clean and well-maintained. Follow manufacturer guidelines; replace catalytic stove filters every 1-4 years. Have your chimney checked and cleaned at least once a year.
    Learn more about the health impacts of woodstove smoke and simple tips you can take to burn smarter. Or watch a short video on the 4 steps to splitting and drying wood.
     
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DEQ Office Locations, Hours and Closures

As of April 2015, the DEQ’s Western Region office in Salem new address is: 4026 Fairview Industrial Drive, Salem, OR. 97302.
 
As of May 2015, DEQ's Northwest Region Office new address is: 700 NE Multnomah St. (the 700 Lloyd Building), Portland, OR 97232.
 
For notice of inclement weather closures at DEQ and statewide, check the Oregon State Office Closures page.
 
Metals emissions in Portland
Preliminary air quality monitoring data show high levels of cadmium and arsenic in the air near Southeast 22nd Ave. and Powell Boulevard in Portland. The data have prompted state agencies to investigate potential health risks from exposure to these metals.
 
Oregon DEQ, Oregon Health Authority and Multnomah County Health Department are working together to determine the significance to public health and how to communicate the potential risk to affected people. So far, data show that these metals are at levels above federal short term exposure guidelines and Oregon’s long-term health benchmarks.
 
To sign up for updates and for more information about what we know right now and what happens next, go to
Visit the Oregon Health Authority’s webpage for health information
OHA Investigating Metals Emissions in Southeast Portland
For answers to questions, call or email the Oregon Health Authority hotline, 971-673-0185.