The Health Hazards of Wood Smoke
Many people don't think of smoke from wood stoves, fireplaces and outdoor burning as air pollution but it is. Some people even like the smell of wood smoke, but much like cigarette smoke, both contain hundreds of dangerous air pollutants, gases and fine particulates that can cause cancer and other serious health problems such as: blood clots, heart attacks, strokes, lung diseases like asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, and bronchitis; irritation of the lungs, throat, sinuses and eyes; headaches; allergenic reactions; increased hospital admissions and even premature death. The particles in wood smoke are too small to be filtered by the nose and upper respiratory system, so they wind up deep in the lungs and act as vectors for bacteria, toxins and viruses.
Wood smoke is more than a nuisance, wood smoke is chemically active in the body 40 times longer than cigarette smoke. It is a severe health hazard and a preventable burden to our health care system. These health effects have a human, social and financial impact, costing Canadians several billion dollars per year. This should concern all of us. Studies show that people who heat their homes with wood have more respiratory problems than those who don’t. Smoke particles also invade neighbouring homes. Research shows that children in wood burning neighbourhoods are more likely to have lung and breathing problems. (From Focus on Wood Smoke Pollution - Washington State Department Of Ecology) Who is at risk? Senior citizens, infants, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, and children. It can directly impact the health of otherwise healthy adults. Sounds like all of us! Breathing wood smoke in any quantity is not good for anyone. Why should we be subjected to the second hand smoke from a neighbour's wood burning stove, fireplace, furnace or outdoor burning - ESPECIALLY AGAINST OUR WILL?
For studies and science please see
Finally, a manufacturer that admits the truth about OWBs!
"Breathing wood smoke has been shown to be hazardous to people’s health. This is not only true for the person who tends the fire, but for the people and neighbors that surround it. This is also true for campfires, but most people do not keep their campfire going 7 days a week."
"Never buy an outdoor wood furnace if you live in town."
"If you have a neighbor within 500 feet of your wood stove, be sure to add enough to your chimney to get above the roofline of their home."
"Locate your wood furnace so that it is convenient to get wood to it, but if possible, out of view of other homes. Realize you are always going to have piles of wood around it, buckets with ashes etc. You do not want to have this out where everyone will see it and will complain about the mess."
"You will be filling it 2 times a day most of the winter if you size it properly. Depending on how well your house is insulated and how much you are heating, you might use 5 pickup loads a year or even up to 30."
"Yes, we know a lot of dealers will tell you these wood furnaces will burn green wood. Yes, they will, but if you use green wood you will burn more wood, by as much as 100-150% more wood. When you burn more wood, you are going to create more emissions. The best wood has dried for 2-3 years before being burnt."
"Never burn trash, building debris, pallets, rubber,
plastic, or anything else that is not recommended by the
"The smell of an idling furnace on a warm humid summer day is not what most people want in the middle of the summer. "