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Elizabeth Henry Scholarship - 2016 Fund Recipients > MATTHEW WAGSTAFF, B.Sc.
Characterizing the impacts of residential wood burning on air quality in British Columbian communities

MATTHEW WAGSTAFF, B.Sc. <br>Characterizing the impacts of residential wood burning on air quality in British Columbian communities

posted on 3:26 PM, October 19, 2016


EH_Scholarship_2016_Matthew_WagstaffI am a Master’s of Science student in the Occupational and Environmental Hygiene program at UBC. I am passionate about environmental health issues and the focus for my thesis research is on characterizing the impacts of residential wood burning on air quality in British Columbian communities. I hope to continue working in this field in the future, contributing to our understanding of, and working to address environmental health issues in Canadian communities. When at home in BC, I spend as much of my spare time as possible skiing or hiking and also have a passion for traveling and exploring new places and cultures. I am very grateful to have been awarded this scholarship and the opportunity it has provided me in continuing to focus on my thesis research. 

Wood burning is an important source of fine particulate (PM2.5) in many rural Canadian communities, however there is limited monitoring designed to characterize its impacts. In a number of BC communities where wood burning is common, PM2.5 levels currently exceed the Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards. While believed to be a major contributor, differentiating woodsmoke’s contribution to PM2.5 is very challenging. Current assessment methods are costly and inefficient for application in rural communities; therefore, we propose to develop a new cost-effective method using innovative mobile monitoring equipment to detect the specific signature of PM2.5 from woodsmoke in order to characterize its impact on small BC communities. We will establish and assess the precision of this new method in both previously monitored and unmonitored communities, while also assessing the oxidative potential of woodsmoke to improve understanding of the chemistry and potential health impacts of woodsmoke. 

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The Fraser Basin Council (FBC) is a charitable non-profit organization that brings people together to advance sustainability in the Fraser River Basin and throughout BC. Established in 1997, FBC is a collaboration of four orders of government (federal, provincial, local and First Nations) along with those from the private sector and civil society. We work with people in multiple sectors, helping them find collaborative solutions to today’s issues through a commitment to the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability. Our focus is on healthy water and watersheds, action on climate change and air quality and strong, resilient communities and regions.

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