Even those without clout can dislike fire rings

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Even those without clout can dislike fire rings

Postby Wilberforce » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:00 pm

Mailbag: Even those without clout can dislike fire rings

April 4, 2013 | 9:20 a.m.

I read Chris Epting's perspective on the beach fire issue this morning and I wanted to give you another perspective.

I live in Huntington Beach about two blocks from the beach. I am not a "wealthy person" who is trying to keep others from beach traditions.

I have asthma, I really do. Smoke from the beach fires is one of my triggers. Exposure to it can push me over the "asthma fence" and put me in the emergency room. During the summers I cannot drive down Pacific Coast Highway with the car windows open. I cannot ride my bicycle at the beach.

Wearing a face mask does not help. We cannot keep the windows open in the house in the late afternoon or evening, especially on weekends. I am telling you the health issues are very real and if it is bad for me, it is bad for everyone.

Yes there are other things that add to particulate pollution but beach fires add quite a bit and exposure to them is very unhealthful and unsafe for individuals like me. Similar to cigarette smoke, which has many studies showing the health effects of second hand smoke, beach fire smoke falls in to this category.

Huntington Beach says it will cost millions in tax revenue if fires are eliminated. Why is profits more important than individuals' health?

Please know these are real issues and with the increased crowds of people at the beach burning wood, the smoke has increased over the years.

Beth Shafer

Huntington Beach


Fire ring offerings often include toxic materials

Of course the fire rings provide far too much fun to ever be banned from the beach but don't automatically assume that the people who do want them removed are all just a bunch of heartless inhuman monsters.

While every fire starts out using some sort of wood, as the night goes on and spirits rise, the wood usually runs out. That's when the younger folk may begin to utilize other combustibles besides wood. Trash, styrofoam coolers, plastic chairs, plastic trash cans and just about anything else that will fit inside the pit is fed into the flames.

Some of those materials burn well and others don't but they nearly all release a toxic smelling smoke that can't be good to breathe. If you get to the beach early in the morning before the rings are cleaned out, you can see what's left of the smoldering remains for yourself.

It's probably best to stay on the upwind side of those dying fires.

Chris Borg

Huntington Beach
• 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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