Smoke from burning wood to heat homes poses health risks

Personal Situations - Problems or Solutions.

Moderator: pm2.5mary

Smoke from burning wood to heat homes poses health risks

Postby Wilberforce » Wed Oct 10, 2012 6:52 pm

Department of Ecology News Release - October 10, 2012

Smoke from burning wood to heat homes poses health risks

OLYMPIA – As temperatures drop with the approaching winter, smoke from homes will increase in many Washington communities – including those plagued by smoke from recent wildfires – as residents fire up wood-burning devices to heat their homes.

If you live in an area where air quality is impacted by wildfire smoke and you have another way to heat your home, please think twice before lighting your wood stove or other wood-burning device.

Burning wood can be a cheap way to heat your home if it’s done correctly. But using poor burning habits; wood that has not been dried properly; and old, inefficient devices can lead to burning up more wood – and money. It also produces large amounts of health-damaging wood smoke – one of the most serious air pollution problems in Washington.

Fine particles in smoke are so small they can easily get into your lungs. Once there, they can cause heart and breathing problems, and even death. People with asthma and respiratory illnesses, children and older adults are most at risk.

Health studies show that people who heat their homes with wood have more breathing problems than those who don’t. Smoke particles also invade neighboring homes. Research shows that children in wood-burning neighborhoods are more likely to have lung and breathing problems.

A 2009 analysis estimates that fine particles lead to about 1,100 deaths and $190 million in added health-care costs each year in Washington, according to the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology).

Ecology and local clean air agencies team up to help Washingtonians curb wood-smoke pollution. The agencies use burn bans, education and programs that pay part of the cost of replacing old home-heating devices with new, cleaner-burning ones.

full article source


Ecology: Avoid burning wood in homes
Posted: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 12:24 pm

Gina Cole

The air over Washington is already clouded with smoke from wildfires after the dry summer. But smoke can continue to be a problem in the winter.

Wood stoves and other wood-burning devices used to heat homes can produce hazardous smoke if not used correctly, according to the state Department of Ecology.

People should consider other ways than wood to heat their homes, the state recommends.

Poor burning habits — using wood that hasn’t been dried properly or old inefficient devices — produce a lot of wood smoke, which can damage health. It can also lead people to burn more wood, which gets expensive.

Wood smoke is one of the most serious air-pollution problems in the state, according to a press release from Ecology. The fine particles are small enough to get into lungs and cause breathing problems and even death.

These particles lead to about 1,100 deaths and $190 million in health-care costs each year in Washington, according to a 2009 Ecology analysis.

People with asthma and other respiratory issues, as well as children and older adults, are most at risk. And the smoke doesn’t just affect the residents of a wood-burning home; children in their neighborhoods are more likely to have lung and breathing problems.

Skagit County is currently under a full burn ban. Information about burn bans is online on Ecology’s website or at

source ... 963f4.html
• 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!
User avatar
Posts: 6106
Joined: Wed Jul 25, 2007 11:36 pm
Location: USA

Return to Opinion Letters, Blogs, and Discussion Groups

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests