The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reached a settlement agreement with Keller Supply Company to resolve alleged violations of the federal Clean Air Act. The Seattle-based company sells wood stoves and heaters in Alaska, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington. The company has agreed to pay a $8,250 penalty for selling five uncertified residential wood stoves in Alaska, California, Oregon and Washington.
“Selling and using uncertified wood stoves can worsen wintertime air pollution and cause unhealthy and even hazardous air quality conditions in a community,” said EPA Pacific Northwest Enforcement and Compliance Director Edward Kowalski. “Companies that sell wood stoves and wood heaters have the responsibility to ensure they are offering EPA-certified wood stoves to their customers.”
The federal Clean Air Act prohibits the sale of wood stoves or wood heaters that are not EPA-certified. EPA alleges that in 2016 and 2017, Keller sold five uncertified wood stoves in California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. When notified of its violations, Keller contacted its customers and recovered all but one stove.
Residential wood stoves and wood heaters contribute significantly to particulate air pollution. EPA has regulated wood heater particulate emissions since 1988. EPA’s certification process requires manufacturers to verify that each of their wood heater model lines meet a specific particulate emission limit by undergoing emission testing at an EPA accredited laboratory. EPA-certified wood stoves are cleaner burning and more efficient than a typical uncertified wood stove.
The biggest health threat from wood smoke is from fine particles that can get deep into the respiratory system. Fine particles can make asthma symptoms worse, trigger asthma attacks, heart attacks or stroke, especially in people who are already at risk for these conditions.
In many communities, wood heating is the largest source of fine particle pollution during winter when stable, stagnant weather conditions trap wood smoke closer to the ground. Five communities in Idaho, Oregon and Alaska are classified as air quality non-attainment areas due to severe wintertime wood smoke air pollution. These communities are working to reduce smoke pollution with wood stove changeouts that replace older, non-compliant stoves with EPA-certified stoves. Sales and use of uncertified wood stoves by companies make it harder to achieve good air quality in these areas.
Find more information about wood stoves, wood smoke and other resources at EPA Burn Wise.