WOOD STOVE HEALTH EFFECTS
FACT SHEET

FPoor wood burning practices create smoke, which contains compounds that cause air pollution. When many wood stoves are in operation in a small area this pollution can create a number of health problems, especially for those who already suffer from respiratory problems such as asthma and chronic lung disease.

FPollution is measured in "grams per hour" which represents the particles in the smoke that are released up the chimney. One gram is approximately the amount of smoke released from the entire burn of a cigarette. Older uncertified wood stoves release from 40 to 80 grams per hour of smoke, the new EPA certified stoves produce only 2 to 5 grams of smoke per hour. This decrease in wood smoke emissions will lead to a decrease in possible health related problems.

FBreathing wood smoke emissions is like breathing in second-hand cigarette smoke. Wood smoke pollutants can be very harmful to the development of young children’s lungs.

FSmoke contains the following unburned pollutants:

- PM10 (Particulate Matter less than 10 Microns in diameter - 200 times smaller than raindrops) - PM10 particulates contains creosote, soot and ash) enter deep into the lungs where they can damage lung tissue, leading to serious respiratory problems.

- CO (Carbon Monoxide) - CO can reduce the blood’s ability to supply necessary oxygen to the bodies tissues, which can cause stress to the heart.

- NOx (oxides of nitrogen) - NOx can lower resistance to lung infections.

- HC (hydrocarbons) - HC can injure the lungs and result in breathing difficulties.

FCarbon Monoxide (CO) is an odorless toxic gas that can be produced and emitted from an inefficient wood stove. As a fire burns down and the wood reaches a charcoal state, it emits a high amount of CO. The dying fire also means that the chimney is cooling and will be less likely to draw the CO outdoors. When this happens, there is a potential for CO poisoning for the dwellers of the home. Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed.