Wood Smoke Public Education Materials

Make an affirmation for your health by educating your family, friends and neighbors.

Fight denial in yourself and others. Talk about it! Silence is denial. Be couragous and support the right of everyone to clean air in their own home. Neighborhood smoke peaks at midnight, (70% of it seeps into every home) fight pajama'd passivity, put "work to reduce wood burning"on your daily list of activities. Nonburners are the majority. There are powerful lobbyists who are paid to work every day to suppress science about the health effects of wood burning and the right to clean air. Burning abuses will end when we admit that the friendly fire is not our friend.

Burning Issues Wood Smoke Fact Sheet:(HTML) and as (14KB PDF)

Burning Issues Wood Smoke Fast Facts HTML

Burning Issues 2003 WOOD SMOKE Brochure Black & White (183KB PDF) Pass out this brochure at wood burning restaurants, in your schools, at work, at shops and in your neighborhood. Make sure the fire department has copies.

Bibliographic References for 2003 WOOD SMOKE Brochure (116KB PDF)

May 17, 2003:Burning Issues Hand out: print double-sided: Chemicals Found in Both Wood Smoke and Tobacco Smoke (112KB PDF)

$8 at Virgin Megastores or at www.virginmega.com.
We tried this out and it turned out to be everyone's favorite fire. The three-minute loop, which we played on a laptop, made the flame seem to burn in double-time, but the aural feature – the crackle – was realistic and soothing. (You can also play it with 23 holiday songs, or choose both crackle and songs.)

Young Students Page

Burning Issues: Wood Smoke Hand Out with Wood Smoke Chemicals on one side and 'For Our Children' on the other for Printing, 2 per page, double sided. (Jan. 16, 2003 update)(140KB PDF)

The Particulate Pollution Project Education 1993 (This is a photo copy of the original. It is as relavent today as it was when it was created.) Page 1, Page 2

Small Poster to put up on message boards. "Wood Smoke - it takes your breath away."

Two Short Articles for Newsletters

Burning Issues Slide Show (old)

Bay Area Air Quality Management District Wood Burning Handbook (download) or to order 10 Free Copies go to:Homepage for SPARE THE AIR 2002 in the Bay Area Although Burning Issues does not endorse the sale of wood stoves, there is some good health information in this brochure. All of the information about how to burn and wood stove 'technology' is propaganda for the Hearth Industry and it will not solve the massive wood smoke pollution problem in the Bay Area or any where else. Be sure to tell the Bay Area Air Quality Management District personally that you want a brochure that is not selling wood stoves. Americans should at least have the lobbyists pay for their own advertising while every citizen foots the medical bills due to the pollution.

Protecting Your Family from Neighborhood Wood Smoke

Self Protection from Pollution Checklist

1993 Government Document :WOODSMOKE AND YOUR HEALTH: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/biblio/91br023.html,

# 91-br-023, 4 pages that you can download with acrobat. Written by Washington State Department of Ecology and endorsed by medical doctors . (Although Burning Issues does not endorse the sale of wood stoves, there is good health information in this brochure.)

American Lung Association Position on Wood Burning. (as a pdf file).


In most areas of the country, woodburning from fireplaces and woodstoves is the largest source of particulate matter air pollution (PM) generated by residential sources. In some localities, fireplaces and woodstoves have been identified as the source of 80% or more of all ambient particles smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5) during the winter months. A large body of evidence links PM with adverse health outcomes, including excess mortality, especially among those with preexisting cardiopulmonary illness.

Fireplaces and woodstoves, and even special equipment such as wood pellet combustors and EPA Phase II Certified woodstoves, produce orders of magnitude more particulate matter than well-tuned oil or gas devices producing equivalent heat. Moreover, woodstoves routinely produce several times more air pollutants than original design values simply because of improper operation (including their misuse as incinerators for residential refuse), maintenance, and normal equipment degradation with use.

In addition to particulate matter, woodsmoke emissions contain components such as carbon monoxide; various irritant gases such as nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrochloric acid, and formaldehyde; and chemicals known or suspected to be carcinogens, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and dioxin.

Monitoring of airborne particulate matter and PAH levels in many residential areas across the country shows that exposure to these pollutants is consistent with the use pattern of residential wood combustion. The sites studied are far from industrial sources and the times of maximum pollutant levels do not correlate with local traffic activity. Outdoor PAH levels in such residential areas have reached 2 micrograms per cubic meter during holiday evenings - comparable to the maximum recorded PAH concentrations in secondhand tobacco smoke.

Studies have also shown that people using woodburning devices to heat their homes can be routinely exposed to excessive levels of fine particulate matter in their indoor air.


Findings from animal studies demonstrate a reduction in disease resistance associated with woodsmoke exposure. Woodsmoke exposure can disrupt cellular membranes, depress immune system activity, damage the layer of cells that protect and cleanse the airways, and disrupt enzyme levels.

The health effects of woodsmoke exposure include increased respiratory symptoms, increased hospital admissions for lower respiratory infections, exacerbation of asthma, and decreased breathing ability. Population studies have shown that young children, the elderly, and people with preexisting cardiopulmonary disease are most likely to be affected.

As a major contributor to particulate matter air pollution, woodsmoke can also be linked directly with a variety of other particulate matter-associated health effects, including increased risks of school absenteeism, emergency room visits and hospitalizations for cardiopulmonary conditions and premature death.


The American Lung Association recommends that individuals avoid burning wood in homes where less polluting heating alternatives are available. The use of the least-polluting alternative heating methods and cleaner technologies should be promoted to provide useful heat, while minimizing any adverse health effects.

For consumers who are considering replacing their wood-burning appliances with gas-burning appliances, ALA recommends choosing vented appliances whenever possible, to minimize potential indoor air quality problems.

Thanks to the Washington State Lung Association for help and support on a proposed wood smoke restrictions bill at the State Legislature in Spring 2003. The bill did not succeed but the support from the WSLA was very much appreciated.

ALA Pages on Prevalence of Lung Disease and Other Facts This is excellent.

Caution: There is still a lack of public education material about wood smoke, candles and incense burnng on the ALA site. for example: American Lung Association Healthy House Project and 3M Offer Free Booklet With More Tips healthy house project http://www.lungusa.org/press/association/asn_3m_healthier.html

This booklet makes both of the following statements:

1) Never store more than a few pieces of firewood indoors. Drying
firewood can generate mold spores, which can easily contaminate an entire house.

2) Wood smoke is a problem for children and adults with asthma and allergies. Avoid wood stoves and fireplaces.

On another page http://www.lungusa.org/air/envcombusti.html

under Solutions the ALA tells us to stir the fire before we go to bed. and to check our ventilation to make sure the wood stove etc. are ventilated. This was picked up verbatim by Jane Brody of the New York Times 2001 in an otherwise excellent article about Indoor Air Pollution. Burning Issues contacted Ms. Brody and did not receive a reply, nor did the Times issue correct scientific information about this source of deadly particulate.

Be healthy - Stop burning things.


Personal Change: In order to change the world we too must change.

Caution for the 2004 Holidays

Burning Issues
Box 1045
Point Arena CA 95468
Tel: 707-882-3601
Email: [pm10mary at mcn dot org]

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