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Bay Area Air Quality Regulators Propose Fireplace Phase-Out, Ban On Wood-Burning Devices In New Homes

(CBS SF) -- Bay Area air quality regulators are looking to phase out the traditional fireplace and forcing homeowners to swap out their wood-burning devices before selling or renting.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) is pushing a first-of-its-kind ban on wood-burning devices in any new home construction along with a ban on selling or renting homes with wood-burning fireplaces unless retrofitted with cleaner-burning devices.

The ban on wood-burning devices in new construction would apply to all devices even if they meet Environmental Protection Agency emission standards.

The proposals would go into effect on November 1st of this year.

Homeowners who want to sell or rent their property would have to pay anywhere from hundreds up to $3,000 or more to retrofit older fireplaces.

Currently, it is against the law to burn wood on so-called Spare The Air nights, when BAAQMD predicts fine particulate pollution will exceed unhealthy levels.

Critics of the proposals say the new rules financially burden homeowners unfairly and don't address those who flout current wood-burning rules.

Proponents say the rules would help achieve state and federal air quality standards and protect people from the tiny wood particulate matter that can cause heart and lung diseases along with other health effects.

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