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It should be noted that a major source of exposure to benzo(a)pyrene is residential wood burning — in fact, in many countries, residential wood burning is the single largest source of PAH emissions, by far, with benzo(a)pyrene being a significant proportion of that.

For example, an Italian study (Benzo(a)pyrene air concentrations and emission inventory in Lombardy region, Italy; Gianelle, et al) found that benzo(a)pyrene levels were highest in “peripheral areas” where the major source of pollution was residential wood burning, rather than vehicles. The exception to these findings was in urban Milan, in an area where emissions were found to largely come from wood-burning pizzerias as well as cars.

Burning one kilogram of wood emits as much benzo(a)pyrene as 27,333 cigarettes.

There is actually evidence that eco-labeled wood stoves emit even higher levels of benzo(a)pyrene than older conventional wood stoves. (The website for Doctors and Scientists Against Wood Smoke Pollution has several links to information about PAHs and wood burning.)

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