Although I in no way profess to be an expert in this area either, I have to agree with Scott. There is very strong evidence to make the argument against burning plastics and used motor oil.
Ask any fire fighter who has fought his way through the toxic smoke generated by the plastics we all have in our homes and businesses. The release of Dioxin and other deadly and carcinogenic toxins into the environment during the burning of plastic even in high temperature incinerators, let alone a measly campfire, is well documented.
It is not only toxic to you and the environment but also illegal in many states to burn used motor oil or even to pour it on the ground (what one would do to start a fire).
I have come to find that people who have strong opinions often find it hard to look objectively at new information that might contradict their current beliefs.Here
is a link to a brief question and answer about some of the good reasons not to burn motor oil. For those of us that have worked in the automotive field there has been very good and compelling information about the toxicity of used motor oil for over 25 years now. Even long term exposure to used motor oil on the skin can cause a host of issues including cancer. Here
is a link to Canadian Government site outlining the reasons for not burning plastics of any kind.
This probably won't change anyone's mind about their preferred methods for fire starting but let me just say that just because you can't see any signs that you have polluted the environment doesn't mean that you haven't. The ash from both of these practices is also toxic although it looks just like the ash from any wood fire.
I just hope that I never have to come across any fire rings that you have started fires in with plastic or used motor oil.
The assorted nuts: Eric & Moria
Peanut & Cashew (our traveling JRT's)
'95 Chevy G20 Conversion Van '05 Rockwood 2280
Edited by - The Nuthouse on December 07 2008 19:31:19