The Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board of Directors (BAAQMD) on Wednesday approved new regulations that will gradually phase out nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from natural gas furnaces and water heaters in the Bay Area. 

According to the Air District, natural gas building appliances are one of the largest emitters of nitrogen oxides of all stationary sources of air pollution, accounting for a similar amount of NOx pollution as passenger vehicles in the Bay Area.

“The 1.8 million water heaters and furnaces in the Bay Area significantly impact our air quality, resulting in dozens of early deaths and a wide range of health impacts, particularly in communities of color,” said Air District executive officer Dr. Philip Fine. “This groundbreaking regulation will phase out the most polluting appliances in homes and businesses to protect Bay Area residents from the harmful air pollution they cause.”

Many illnesses, including coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, asthma, and increased susceptibility to respiratory infections have been linked to NOx exposure, while asthma and other respiratory conditions, neurological disease, heart attack, stroke, lung cancer, and premature death have been linked to exposure to particulate matter.

The new amendments will avoid up to $890 million annually in health impacts due to exposure to air pollution.

However, the Air District added that the rule amendments will apply only to new appliances and do not mandate the immediate change out of existing appliances, nor will they apply to appliances used for cooking, such as gas stoves. The Air District expects the new regulation to reduce NOx emissions by 90% and improve air quality significantly in the Bay Area.

Information for this briefing was found via the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board of Directors, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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