Public health officials urge Montreal to take action on wood-burning restaurants
A new study from Montreal's public health department is calling on the city to take action against air pollution caused from wood-burning stoves in pizzerias and bagel shops.
Released Tuesday, the study shows that 3 per cent of fine-particle emissions found in Montreal air come from commercial wood-burning stoves.
While that's extremely low compared to gas-powered vehicles, public health officials say it's a relatively easy fix for something that could impact health.
"We can measure it and we know what we can do about it, which is either to change the fuel or to put in measures like filters and air purifiers that reduce the amount of pollution. We wanted to make sure that is done," said David Kaiser of Montreal Public Health.
"Given that many of these institutions are located in densely populated neighbourhoods in Montreal, this results in a potentially significant exposure for a significant number of individuals," the study reads.
St-Viateur Bagel has already installed expensive filters to reduce the particles emitted from wood stoves, as has Portuguese chicken restaurant Ma Poule Mouillee.
Those systems make a significant difference, and Kaiser is hoping other eateries will follow suit.
"The only businesses that appear to respect the regulations with regard to air quality are those that have put in measures," he said.
Many foodies, however, fear the city will look to make sweeping changes and try to ban wood stoves outright.
"It would be a shame. I get it, when it comes to environmental issues and whatnot, but why change something that has been around – at least for (St-Viateur Bagel) – for at least 60 years?" said Ronny Pangia of Montreal Food Tours.
In a statement, the city said it's working with restaurants that use wood stoves to try to encourage them to install filtration systems. It won't yet say what will happen to businesses that can't afford them.