Smoke is harmful to your health
Smoke and soot from burning wood contains a mixture of harmful gases and fine particles. Most particles are so small that when inhaled they get past your body’s defenses and lodge deep into your lungs causing serious health problems, including:
- Asthma attacks.
- Respiratory infections.
- Chronic obstructive lung disease and lung cancer.
- Irregular heart beat.
- Heart attacks and cardiovascular disease.
Infants and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with lung or heart disease are the most sensitive to harm from wood smoke, but everyone can experience eye, throat, sinus, and lung irritation.
Wood smoke and burning alternatives
During the winter months in Washington, almost all wood smoke comes from the use of wood burning stoves and similar devices. This smoke often becomes the leading source of fine particle air pollution when weather conditions trap smoke close to the ground. People in homes that burn wood for heat have more respiratory problems than those who don’t. Read about how wood smoke harms your health.
Other types of burning can also result in unhealthy accumulations of smoke, such as burning yard waste, agricultural burning, and wildfires. Temperature inversions can trap smoke near the ground resulting in poor air quality.
When smoke levels threaten public health, Ecology or local clean air agencies issue Air Quality Burn Bans.