20 March 2018

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Facts Explained Harmful Effects of Wood Burning

Facts Explained Harmful Effects of Wood Burning

We think that wood smoke is natural and natural means no harm but regarding Wood Smoke it is not true.Wood smoke is harmful to humans.
If you think that I will close my window and I am fine then your belief is wrong.

The fine particle pollutants from wood burning are so small that they infiltrate even the most well-insulated and weather-stripped homes. Scientific studies have shown that particle pollution levels inside homes reach up to 70% of the pollution levels outdoors.

What is wood smoke?
Smoke forms when wood or other organic matter burns. The smoke from wood burning is made up of a complex mixture of gases and fine particles (also called particle pollution, particulate matter, or PM). 

In addition to particle pollution, wood smoke contains several toxic harmful air pollutants including: benzene, formaldhyde, acrolein and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

Following are the Harmful Health Effects of Wood Smoke -
Smoke may smell good, but it's not good for you. The biggest health threat from smoke is from fine particles, also called fine particulate matter or PM2.5. These microscopic particles can get into your eyes and respiratory system, where they may cause burning eyes, runny nose, and illnesses, such as bronchitis.

Fine particles can make asthma symptoms worse and trigger asthma attacks.

Fine particles can also trigger heart attacks, stroke, irregular heart rhythms, and heart failure, especially in people who are already at risk for these conditions.

Most of the harmful pollutants from wood burning hang around at ground level for up to ten days.

On cold winter days (when people tend to burn wood) the problem is even worse, because the weather conditions create temperature inversions that put a lid over the lower atmosphere, trapping hazardous pollutants close to ground level.

Who is at risk from wood smoke?
Wood smoke can affect everyone, but children, teenagers, older adults, people with lung disease, including asthma and COPD or people with heart diseases are the most vulnerable.
Research indicates that obesity or diabetes may also increase risk. 

New or expectant mothers may also want to take precautions to protect the health of their babies, because some studies indicate they may be at increased risk.

It's important to limit your exposure to smoke—especially if you are more susceptible than others:

1-If you have heart or lung disease, such as congestive heart failure, angina, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema or asthma, you may experience health effects earlier and at lower smoke levels than healthy people.

2-Older adults are more likely to be affected by smoke, possibly because they are more likely to have chronic heart or lung diseases than younger people.

3-Children also are more susceptible to smoke for several reasons: their respiratory systems are still developing; they breathe more air (and air pollution) per pound of body weight than adults; and they're more likely to be active outdoors.

The particles in wood smoke can reduce visibility (haze) and create environmental and aesthetic damage in our communities and scenic areas – like national parks.  
There is growing evidence that particulate air pollution derived from wood stoves causes acute inflammation in the respiratory system, increases the incidence of asthma and other allergic diseases, and increases respiratory morbidity and mortality.

Smoke from wood-burning stoves can have both short-term and long-term effects. It can trigger coughing, wheezing, asthma attacks, heart attacks, and lead to lung cancer and premature death, among other health effects. This is because wood smoke contains fine particle pollution, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, black carbon and air toxics such as benzene. The wood smoke can increase particle pollution to levels that pose serious health concerns both indoors and outdoors.

Breathing wood smoke can have short- and long-term effects.

Some of the short-term effects may be: -irritated eyes, throat, sinuses, and lungs; headaches; reduced lung function, especially in children; lung inflammation or swelling; increased risk of lower respiratory diseases; more severe or frequent symptoms from existing lung diseases (such as asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, and bronchitis); and risk of heart attack and stroke.

Some long-term effects can be: - chronic lung disease including bronchitis and emphysema; chemical and structural changes in lungs; and cancer.

Adults with normal health generally have better resistance to most effects of wood smoke. However, they may feel short of breath and notice it is more difficult to exercise.
They may also notice irritated eyes, sore throats, phlegm, chest tightness, headaches, and allergy symptoms.

Although anyone can have health effects from wood smoke, those most likely to be affected even at low levels are: infants and children, the elderly, and adults with existing heart or lung conditions

Infants and children: Children breathe more air in proportion to their size than adults. Their lungs are also still developing. Because of this, children can experience more health effects from polluted air than adults. Children who regularly breathe wood smoke are more likely to have shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, asthma, disrupted sleep, inflamed respiratory tracts, and pneumonia.

University of Washington researchers have found more symptoms of respiratory disease in Seattle preschool children living in residential areas with high levels of wood smoke than in children living in areas with lower wood smoke levels.

Other studies have found that use of wood stoves increases the risk of lower respiratory tract infections such as bronchiolitis and pneumonia in young children.

Childhood lower respiratory tract infections have been linked with chronic lung disease later in life.

The elderly: Older adults are at greater risk from wood smoke if they have common chronic health problems, which can be worsened by exposure to fine particles. Studies show
lower heart rate variability (meaning the heart is less able to respond to changes in activity levels) when people breathe increased levels of fine particle air pollution.
Young people and older adults are more susceptible to this.

Adults with existing heart or lung conditions: People with existing heart or
lung conditions, as well as smokers and ex-smokers, have less resistance to the
effects of wood smoke. They may have more severe symptoms of their existing condition(s). For example, wood smoke worsens asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, and bronchitis.

Many national and international studies show that higher levels of fine particles in the air are associated with diseases and premature deaths.

In fact, fine particle pollution (PM2.5) is so tiny that it can get deep into the lungs, harming the lungs, blood vessels and heart.

Few people say that if wood is burned properly it will spread pollution 50% less but question is why to burn wood and release 50% pollution in atomsphere.

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Tuesday,March 20, 2018 – 7.12 am

Tags – Harmful Effects Wood Burning