The Dangers Of Wood Smoke To Your Family

You have a romantic evening planned. The wine is chilling. The food is cooking. The table is set before a lovely fire in the fireplace, where the light will be dim and you will toast one another over a wonderful meal. 

What is wrong with this picture? Up until recently, I would have said nothing. But then a reader of mine started educating me on the dangers of wood smoke. 

In her words:

"Wood smoke pollution contains many of the same toxic chemical compounds as those found in tobacco-smoke. 

Wood smoke is associated with Cardiac disease, Cardio pulmonary, SIDS, STROKE, Asthma, Cancer, COPD, Autism, Learning Disabilities, and many other wood smoke associated illnesses.  

Those most vulnerable are the very young, the fragile elderly, those with pre-existing health conditions, those with compromised immune systems, and the unborn child.  

When we can't breathe, nothing else matters. We all share the community air and there is an urgent necessity for each community to take positive pro-active action to ban/end/prohibit all urban residential and recreational wood burning.

Devices such as wood burning stoves, wood burning fire places, OWBs (outdoor wood boilers) fire pits, backyard bonfires, beach burns and any device that burns wood as a fuel source either for home heating or for recreational use.  

There is no safe level of smoke to breathe. Seventy percent of wood smoke enters into other homes in an area, making it possible for you and your family to be breathing deadly toxic chemicals that seep into every minuscule crevice of your home. You cannot keep wood smoke out of your home.

After a decade of being made ill from a wood burning neighbor, our lives changed dramatically once the wood burner left the area. This happened due to years of hard work, pressure applied, and help from community officials.  

We lived what many call a nightmare of days and nights being smothered in endless hours of toxic wood smoke pollution. We did not move in beside a wood burner, but when the home next door was sold, a wood burner moved in and life changed drastically.

Nights and days of being smothered in smoke, being made ill and suffering, and not being able to breathe made me decide to become an activist. Helping to raise the profile about this toxic form of community airborne pollution.  

This could happen to you. If your community does not have laws to end/ban/prohibit all recreational and residential wood burning, you could be next.

Stand up for your right to breathe healthy air--air that is wood smoke-free. Contact your city officials if you have a problem, write your state representative, contact every resource possible, and don't stop till someone listens.  

Attend meetings that you arrange with your City Mayor/Board Members, Fire Department and others regarding the urgent need for protection from this toxic source of community pollution.  

Don't stop till someone hears you! Don't stop till someone takes action on your behalf. Become involved, become concerned and become aware of the deadly, negative impact that wood smoke pollution has on your health, your family, and your environment.

We all share the community air and one wood burning device can harm the health of others for miles in a neighborhood.  Remember no one has the right to destroy your health, harm your family or take away your right to breathe.  

If you don't speak up, you could end up like many in communities everywhere, suffering day after day from wood smoke pollution in their neighborhoods.

Please, don't burn wood. Protect the health of your loved ones by taking pro-active action. Become informed today about the health and environmental hazards of breathing wood smoke.

Air Is Precious. Protect It. Don't pollute it with wood smoke.

"Thank you, Brenda, for sharing this very important message with so many of your valued readers who do care about their homes, their families and the air they breathe." 

Linda Baker Beaudin 

Founder, Air Is Precious


Peter Lehmkuhl, general manager of the Sierra Club's Clair Tappaan Lodge, high in the Sierra Nevada, tends to the fireplace

This information, I must admit, is new to me. I've never used fireplaces, and smoke makes my asthma worse. But I did not know it could have this serious an effect. 

Google this topic and learn about this problem. You will find lots of information. Don't take anyone's word for it. Read and find out for yourself. You owe your family this much. 

You wouldn't hand a lit cigarette to your child. So think about the smoke that comes from burning wood in your home fireplace, or your fire pit.

Knowledge is power.

Here are 5 articles I found on this subject to get you started:


  1. I bought one of the electric stoves that looks like wood burning in it.. I love it.. It throws a nice warmth and I love the ambiance, especially at Christmas time.
    I hope you'll have a sunny, enjoyable weekend

  2. I forgot to mention that I put the stove in our "real" fireplace. I used to love a real wood fire though.

  3. does an "electric fireplace" use a lot of energy and make the electric bill go up high? I wonder we supplement out heat in the winter with a wood fireplace and I had never heard this information.

    1. I didn't see where our electric bill was any higher than usual. I've heard that having a wood fire in a fireplace, with the damper open, causes heat from the house to go up the chimney.
      I still used to love a wood fire..

  4. The only "toxin" mentioned on the EPA website that is released from burning wood is carbon monoxide. And that happens when wood is not burned efficiently. Surely, if real wood was such a hazard, the EPA would warn against burning wood for any reason. Wood here refers to trees that are cut not to any pressure treated wood, etc.
    The idea that using wood to heat homes, cook food, etc. should be banned really irks me. Ban burning wood; ban sodas; ban cookies at school.... will it ever end??

    1. Many other authorities such as the American Lung Association issue warnings "urging the public to avoid wood burning and to consider cleaner burning alternatives. Burning wood emits harmful toxins and fine particles into the air that can worsen asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)."
      In tests on mice and bacteria wood smoke was found to cause 12 to 30 times as many tumors and mutations as the same amount of cigarette smoke. More info www .lung .org/local-content/_content-items/about-us/media/press-releases/american-lung-association-in-16.html and woodsmoke .3sc .net/toxic-chemicals

  5. We just built our dream home in the mountains, with a wood burning fireplace insert. My husband spent months researching this and we bought a high efficiency stove with a catalytic converter, so when the fireplace is burning there is virtually no smoke coming out of our chimney and it heats our 2200 at home beautifully. Sounds like this author did not look at all the facts. We love our efficient wood burning stove.

  6. I worked as a police employer and took so many house fire calls from use of a fireplace that I would never consider using one. I am also highly allergic to smoke and cannot stand it when neighbors burn their wood fires. it drives me inside with migraines and sinus problems. I am surrounded on three sides by people that burn wood fires. Thank you for posting this very important message. Wood fires make people sick and they are poison. I do not want lung cancer because some idiot is to cheap to use his furnace. Its not right that they are allowed to burn wood fires and do harm to others.

  7. wow - didn't realize but I do have asthma too and when there is smoke outdoor from burning wood - I usually need my inhaler!

  8. I also took out the wood stove inserts that had been put in both old fireplaces, stuck in even newer electric inserts ... and now don't even turn those fancy electric inserts on. Why not just forget about the whole silly pioneer and cavemen stuff and go for a walk or hike in what nature is left. If you live in a crowded place butt out with most of that silly central heat idea, put on layers of warm clothes in a colder house, and care a bit for others and the environment!


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