With temperatures forecast to drop this week, fireplaces and wood stoves will be lit up across our community, sending smoke into the air. Wood-burning fireplaces can be a pleasant source of warmth and comfort when the air gets crisp, but for some people, fireplace smoke can literally take their breath away.
Wood smoke contains hundreds of chemical compounds and some of them can harm children and teens, as well as people with heart or respiratory disease. Pollutants in wood smoke can cause the eyes, nose and throat to burn with irritation, and cause headache and nausea in some people. In addition, walking in neighborhoods where fireplace smoke is heavy can cause irregular heartbeat, chest pain and shortness of breath in susceptible people. Smoke can make asthma symptoms worse and cause higher rates of lung inflammation and pneumonia in young children in homes where wood-burning fireplaces are used.
The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality has more information and tips to keep you and your community safe if you’re using your fireplace or wood stove.