PORTLAND, Maine — Preliminary findings from University of Southern Maine researchers have linked wood stoves and pellet stoves with potential indoor air quality problems.
The team of faculty and students began its work last spring, examining indoor airborne smoke and ash particles from firewood and wood pellets.
Researchers found traces of at least 10 heavy metals in wood and pellet ash, including copper, arsenic and lead. Joseph Staples, one of the principle investigators, says most of the particles were stirred up when cleaning out the ashes, not while the stove is in operation.
The health risks are uncertain. Staples says the exact numbers are difficult to quantify because little research has been conducted.