Wood-burning stoves may keep you warm and cozy, but they can also be hazardous to your health. Smoking and secondhand tobacco smoke exposure are known risk factors for cataracts and eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration. However, there is evidence that when the particulates come from wood smoke, rather than from other sources, the risk is even higher. Semmens E, Noonan C, Allen R, Weiler E, Ward T. Indoor particulate matter in rural, wood stove heated homes. According to McGill University professor Scott Weichenthal, lead author of the study, “We noticed that the association was stronger when more of the air pollution came from wood burning. It is well-established within air pollution research, that wood-burning stoves and fireplaces as well as agricultural and wild fires emit significant quantities of known health-damaging pollutants to both ambient and indoor air. You may experience any of the following within a few days of exposure to fumes from a wood-burning stove: If you have heart disease, fumes from a wood-burning stove can increase the risk of: Particulate matter can be breathed deep into the lungs. Wood stoves and fireplaces are a surprisingly large source of cancer-related pollutants in our air. Follow the recommended schedule for proper maintenance thereafter.. A recent study found that when particulate pollution from residential wood burning was at its highest, the risk of heart attacks in seniors rose by 19%. Reduced heart rate variability has been associated with sudden cardiac death. It sticks to your chimney as creosote and is released into the air.. Since the wood is burned outside, smoke rarely enters your home. This may suggest that wood smoke is also a risk factor for triggering autoimmune diseases. due to residential wood burning had a 55% higher likelihood of developing dementia compared to those who were not living in an area polluted by wood smoke. Using an air filtration device which have been shown to effectively improve the quality of air in hones with wood burning stoves. It aggravates asthma and increases its severity. Using your wood-burning stove with caution, then, becomes essential. Pollution from wood stoves and fireplaces has been found to be the top cancer risk in Oregon’s air. Wood smoke increases airway irritation that leads to coughing and difficulty breathing. As we mentioned on our Particulate Pollution page, particulates like those from wood smoke can trigger heart attacks and strokes. However in recent years there has been much debate about the potential negative health effects associated with wood … You also need to make sure that your home or the building where you are using a wood-burning stove is properly equipped to handle the effects. Never start a fire in your wood stove with gasoline, kerosene, charcoal starter, or a propane torch. Temuco had much higher levels of toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (, s) and other airborne toxins. The government will work with industry to ensure that this target is met and that appliances are tested in the right way. Wood smoke was found to be 30 times more potent at inducing tumors than cigarette smoke condensate in an animal study (see, Wood smoke is associated with the development of lung cancer (for example, see, that children, who absorb more of the carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (. Recurrent exposure can exacerbate many illnesses such as emphysema and heart failure. Anyone with a chronic illness is more susceptible to the harmful effects of a wood-burning stove. Wood Smoke Pollution Increases Cancer Risk, Wood smoke contains chemicals that are listed as known and suspected carcinogens by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (, ), as well as other chemicals that are classified as hazardous air pollutants. Since the wood is burned outside, smoke rarely enters your home. It also can lower immune function. The situation is likely similar in other places where wood stove use is common. US Environmental Protection Agency. (Free radicals play a major part in the development of chronic and degenerative illnesses such as cancer, autoimmune disorders, cataracts, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular diseases and neurodegenerative diseases.). There are other costs to burning wood besides the negative effects on your health. ), Smoking and secondhand tobacco smoke exposure are known risk factors for cataracts and eye diseases such as, . Pollution Caused by Wood Burning “Relatively low levels” of wood smoke exposure have also been shown to raise biomarkers in blood, breath and urine indicating effects on airways. A study comparing air pollution and death rates between Santiago, Chile (where most particulates are from traffic) and Temuco, Chile (where the majority is from wood burning), found evidence that residents of Temuco faced a higher risk of death from cardiac and respiratory causes than in Santiago, even when particulate levels in the two cities were comparable.