Keep Healthy Home Fires Burning

For many people, a bright, crackling, wood fire is as much a part of the fall and winter season as hot apple cider and a cozy wool sweater. But there are a few things to keep in mind before you set logs ablaze.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines wood smoke as both household (indoor) air pollution and ambient (outdoor) air pollution because of its carcinogenic properties. The soot from wood smoke is made up of very small particles, so small, that they can easily get into our lungs, nasal passages and airways and stay there. Prolonged exposure can have adverse health effects, including damage to lungs and immune systems, especially on sensitive populations such as children, the elderly, and individuals with respiratory illnesses. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently reported that even just a little exposure has been linked to heart attacks and arrhythmias.

Tips for Healthy and Safe Wood Fires
While it is best to avoid indoor wood smoke entirely, there are ways you can reduce the impact of wood smoke and keep your home safe.

What Not to Burn
Just as important as what to put in your fireplace, is what not to burn. Many things you might be tempted to use to stoke your fire are dangerous when burned because they release toxic chemicals, corrosive gasses, and nitrous oxide.  Never burn:

When to Burn
Some locations allow wood fires only on certain days and other locations prohibit them entirely. Be sure to check local conditions! Enjoy your fire, but be sure to make them legally, responsibly, and judiciously!

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Dana Sundblad
Dana is a seasoned marketing and communications professional with over 20 years experience helping companies achieve awareness and financial goals in consumer, technology, and non-profit industries. Most recently she was Director of Communications at Castilleja School and began her career in brand marketing with Clorox. She received her MBA from Harvard University and BA from Wellesley College.
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