eCite Digital Repository

The effects on mortality and the associated financial costs of wood heater pollution in a regional Australian city


Robinson, DL and Horsley, JA and Johnston, FH and Morgan, GG, The effects on mortality and the associated financial costs of wood heater pollution in a regional Australian city, Medical Journal of Australia, 215, (6) pp. 269-272. ISSN 0025-729X (2021) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2021 AMPCo Pty Ltd

DOI: doi:10.5694/mja2.51199


Objectives: To estimate the annual burden of mortality and the associated health costs attributable to air pollution from wood heaters in Armidale.

Design: Health impact assessment (excess annual mortality and financial costs) based upon atmospheric PM2.5 measurements.

Setting: Armidale, a regional Australian city (population, 24 504) with high levels of air pollution in winter caused by domestic wood heaters, 1 May 2018 - 30 April 2019.

Main outcome measures: Estimated population exposure to PM2.5 from wood heaters; estimated numbers of premature deaths and years of life lost.

Results: Fourteen premature deaths (95% CI, 12-17 deaths) per year, corresponding to 210 (95% CI, 172-249) years of life lost, are attributable to long term exposure to wood heater PM2.5 pollution in Armidale. The estimated financial cost is $32.8 million (95% CI, $27.0-38.5 million), or $10 930 (95% CI, $9004-12 822) per wood heater per year.

Conclusions: The substantial mortality and financial cost attributable to wood heating in Armidale indicates that effective policies are needed to reduce wood heater pollution, including public education about the effects of wood smoke on health, subsidies that encourage residents to switch to less polluting home heating (perhaps as part of an economic recovery package), assistance for those affected by wood smoke from other people, and regulations that reduce wood heater use (eg, by not permitting new wood heaters and requiring existing units to be removed when houses are sold).

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:air pollutants, public health
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Epidemiology
Research Field:Environmental epidemiology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Health protection and disaster response
UTAS Author:Johnston, FH (Professor Fay Johnston)
ID Code:147330
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2021-10-26
Last Modified:2021-11-22

Repository Staff Only: item control page