Palo Alto -- Two Palo Alto City Council members want to join regional efforts to reduce pollution by calling for a ban on fireplaces that burn wood.
In a memorandum to their colleagues, Sandy Eakins and Dena Mossar said they will ask Monday that the city conduct a study and draft an ordinance in the coming months.
The ban would be modeled after a sample ordinance proposed by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District in December. The air district ordinance does not apply to existing fireplaces, but to new homes or those being remodeled.
New fireplaces would be required to burn natural gas. Wood-burning stoves would have to be certified by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Petaluma, Los Gatos and Saratoga are the only Bay Area cities with such bans. Santa Clara County and Berkeley have expressed interest in adopting similar ordinances, said Terry Lee, a spokeswoman for the air district.
Soot and ash can be a health threat. During a four- to five- hour period, a typical wood- burning fireplace generates nearly a half-pound of particulate matter; gas stoves generate about five grams of particulate in the same time period, Lee said.
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