Burn Wise

Safety and Health Effects of Wood Smoke

As temperatures get colder, many homeowners are starting the first fires of the home heating season. EPA has established the Burn Wise campaign to reduce wood smoke pollution by encouraging homeowners to help protect their homes, health, and the air we breathe.

During the winter, residential wood smoke is a main contributor to fine particle pollution and is responsible for poor air quality days in many areas. Particle pollution can affect everyone, but children, teenagers, older adults, people with lung disease- including asthma and COPD - or people with heart disease are most vulnerable.

Exposure to particle pollution can lead to a variety of health effects. For example, numerous studies link particle levels to increased hospital admissions and emergency room visits- and even to early death. Research indicates that obesity or diabetes may increase risk. New or expectant mothers may also want to take precautions to protect the health of their babies.

EPA's Burn Wise program encourages communities to implement safe burning practices by emphasizing the importance of burning the right wood the right way in the right wood-burning appliance.

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