Wood burning stoves and Asthma

Some of my neighbours have a wood burner in their home, some have a multifuel stove. It looks so cosy, so lovely and warm. It really does. And I do understand the people who want one for their home. I really do! But I don’t like them. At all!

Why? I hear you ask. Well, this is why. From the time I was 9 months old I’ve been suffering with Asthma. My childhood revolved around inhalers, asthma attacks, antibiotics, not being able to do what my classmates were doing, not competing in sports and being ill. In the village where we lived until I was 6 we had a neighbour who had a multifuel burner. Which was perfect for him as he burned everything in it. Dirty nappies, painted wood, you name it. And every time he put that bloody thing on I got another asthma attack.

When we moved house we luckily had nobody in the area with either a wood burner or a multifuel burner, but my asthma didn’t go away.

These days wood burners are very popular. A few of my neighbours have one. And now that winter is upon us they light the stove. But what they don’t know is that every time they do that, they make me ill. If you think I’m overreacting, I would suggest you read this article.

Not Just Your Household’s Health at Risk

If you don’t have a fireplace or wood-burning stove at home, don’t feel at ease just yet. You’re heath still may be at risk … from your neighbor’s fireplaces and wood-burning stoves.

Because wood smoke contains such tiny particles, the smoke is not stopped by closed doors and windows, and seeps into nearby neighbors’ houses. In fact, during winter months, wood smoke does not rise and often hangs close to the ground, entering yards, houses, schools, and hospitals. Subsequently, areas with valley locations and poor air circulation are affected most.

A recent University of Washington study in Seattle and an EPA study in Boise, Idaho neighborhoods found that indoor PM10 levels (particulate matter – one of six major air pollutants for which there is a national air quality standard) from wood smoke in homes without wood stoves reach an astonishing 50% to 70% of outdoor levels when burning wood. Neighbors to wood fires may unwillingly be breathing smoky air, even if they are not wood burners.

I’ve been sick at home for more than a week now. My neighbours lit their wood burner for the first time this season about two weeks ago. Coincidence?? I think not.

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