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Resolve to breathe easier this year

PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2015 7:47 pm
by Wilberforce
Resolve to breathe easier this year
January 1, 2015 12:00 AM

As we begin 2015, many of our friends and family will begin new diets and join gyms in order to create a healthier lifestyle. What about a New Year’s resolution to breathe easier? The Allegheny County Health Department announced that the new open burning regulations will be in effect starting Jan. 1. There is no better time than now to pledge a “no burn” resolution for outdoor burning this year.

The health risk factors of wood smoke compare to those of secondhand tobacco smoke. Wood smoke contains pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen and sulfur oxides, formaldehyde, benzene and fine particulate matter. Everyone is adversely impacted by wood smoke, but the elderly and kids with developing lungs are the most vulnerable.

Not only you, but your neighbors also can be affected by the harmful, microscopic travelling particles in the smoke. A recent report by Environment and Human Health Inc. showed that homes nearly three football fields away (850 feet) from wood burning had six times the level of particulates as control homes. No fences can keep wood pollution from traveling into your neighbors’ homes.

While the regulations on open burning in Allegheny County place restrictions on how you can burn wood, they do not go far enough to protect public health. Only a “no burn” policy guarantees the highest level of protection for community members.

The scientific evidence continues to grow about the dangers of wood smoke pollution. This year, try a simple step toward good lung and heart health and adopt a “no burn” policy for you, your friends and family. It may be the easiest New Year’s resolution you can make and keep.

Southwest OutreachCoordinator, Clean Air Council

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