Although a wood stove’s crackle and glow can be soothing, the pollution it creates is quite alarming. High levels of chemicals are released into the environment when the wood is burned, causing specific pollution hotspots.
Many of the dangerous compounds found in tobacco smoke are released by burning wood, even in newer certified wood stoves, and it’s possible that the smoke is even more toxic, according to Doctors and Scientists Against Wood Smoke Pollution.
According to studies, wood smoke pollution raises the risk of heart attacks, strokes, asthma attacks, dementia, and cancer.
According to Gary Fuller of the Imperial College London School of Public Health, wood burning has significantly increased in the more affluent urban areas of the UK, as reported by The Guardian.
Since busy roads are known to be key hotspots for fine particulate matter and are also where most of the pollutants from diesel vehicles are concentrated, the monitoring of air pollution in the UK now focuses on these areas.
Fuller argued that by focusing on these more established sources of pollution, scientists might be omitting wood stoves’ more recent hotspots.
According to Fuller, there is fear that we are developing new hotspots for air pollution, especially in more affluent places where residents do not consider their surroundings to be contaminated.
Because wood is a natural fuel, people believe that wood smoke is safe. People must realize that the wood smoke that permeates their neighborhood is just as damaging as the air pollution brought on by industry or vehicles.
According to The Daily Telegraph, environmental groups have cautioned that UK homes may be using their wood stoves in violation of the country’s air pollution regulations without realizing it.
In the UK, the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs conducted a survey and found that 50% of homeowners in pollution hotspots are unaware that their fireplaces are subject to rules.
If a household violates the pollution limits in smoke control regions, the local council has the authority to charge them anywhere from $210 to $360.
According to Client Earth Campaigns and Policy Manager, Clean Air, Andrea Lee, who was quoted in The Telegraph, “Harsher enforcement of on-the-spot penalties means people could be penalized without realizing they’re doing anything wrong.” As a result, the government needs to increase education.
According to The Guardian, Fuller has sent researchers out with backpacks to investigate the air pollution caused by wood stoves in various parts of London. In a recent study in North London, walkers carrying backpacks tracked solid fuel pollution sources.
Given that people typically firewood in the evening when others are more likely to be exposed, Fuller claimed that the pollution from wood-burning stoves was probably hurting more people.
On chilly winter nights when their neighbors are home, people burn wood. According to Fuller, who was quoted in The Guardian, air pollution can settle over a region, exposing more people than those who are exposed to traffic pollution from congested roads.
According to Clean Air in London, the UK’s Climate Change Committee has urged for the gradual phase-out of domestic wood fires.
We as a society decided that no one should be forced to inhale secondhand cigarette smoke. Given what we now know, it is time to extend this attitude to wood smoke, said the Doctors and Scientists Against Wood Smoke Pollution on their website.