Wood Smoke and Asthma

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Wood Smoke and Asthma

Postby Wilberforce » Sat Sep 17, 2016 8:06 pm

Wood Smoke and Asthma

Smoke from burning wood or other plants is made up of a complex mixture of harmful gases and small particles, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), dioxin and inhalable particulate matter (PM). PM is the principal pollutant of concern from short-term exposures to wood smoke.

Wood Smoke Health Effects | Top

Most healthy adults and children will recover quickly from smoke exposures. However, certain sensitive groups are more vulnerable to wood smoke effects and may experience more severe symptoms. Sensitive groups include: children, pregnant women, older adults, those with cardiovascular diseases, and those with asthma and other respiratory diseases.

People who have asthma may experience health effects earlier and at lower smoke levels than healthy people. Small PM from wood smoke gets into the respiratory system as well as eyes and sinuses. Breathing in wood smoke and small PM can irritate the lungs of someone with asthma and may lead to an asthma attack. Long-term exposure to wood smoke can lead to reduced lung function.

Follow the link to learn more about wood smoke and health effects.

Tips to Avoid Smoke Exposure

The CDC and EPA recommend the following actions to avoid smoke exposure:
(1) Avoid Burning Wood in Your Home:

Burning wood creates health hazards and pollutes the air. Get the facts and reduce your wood burning for a cleaner, healthier Utah.

Wood burning creates fine particles—tiny, microscopic pieces of pollution that can enter your blood stream and cause breathing and heart problems.
Health effects include coughing, headaches, eye and throat irritation, asthma attacks, heart attacks and strokes.
On bad air quality days (red or mandatory action days), wood fires are not permitted. However, households that use a wood-burning stove or fireplace as their sole source of heat are permitted to burn.

One fireplace can emit as much particulate pollution as 90 sport utility vehicles.
The pollution from one wood-burning stove is equivalent to the amount emitted from 3,000 gas furnaces producing the same amount of heat per unit (according to the California Air Resource Board).
The particulates in wood smoke are tiny and even doors and windows cannot keep them out. Up to 70 percent of the wood smoke that exits a chimney re-enters nearby homes.

Don't burn wood.
(2) Reduce Sources of Indoor Air Pollution (cigarettes, candles, aerosol sprays)
(3) Pay Attention to Air Quality Forecasts on the radio, TV, internet, and newspapers
(4) Plan Your Outdoor and Physical Activities for when air pollution levels are low.
• The Surgeon General has determined that there is no safe level of exposure to ambient smoke!

• If you smell even a subtle odor of smoke, you are being exposed to poisonous and carcinogenic chemical compounds!

• Even a brief exposure to smoke raises blood pressure, (no matter what your state of health) and can cause blood clotting, stroke, or heart attack in vulnerable people. Even children experience elevated blood pressure when exposed to smoke!

• Since smoke drastically weakens the lungs' immune system, avoiding smoke is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, bronchitis, or risk of an even more serious respiratory illness, such as pneumonia or tuberculosis! Does your child have the flu? Chances are they have been exposed to ambient smoke!
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