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Wood burning: beliefs, benefits and risks.

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Recently Temperatures dipped down for many days in the Washington area, reaching 29 degree Fahrenheit in these last few weeks. How to stay warm is a priority for many household. Heating with wood has been used for more than 350,000 year by mankind. It is mostly used in single family homes as a primary source of heating. Foe others it is a secondary complementary form. Wood has multiple qualities but also many negative impacts; especially on health.

Psychological effects of wood.

When wood is burned in a chimney, it does bring a kind of warmer feeling of comfort, happiness, and so on.

Cost effective.

Wood is less expensive than gas, electricity and fuel oil; therefore becoming a preferred method of heating for many. It is also a renewable form of energy.

Effects on health.

  • Wood smoke is a factor for climate change and poor health.

Over 100 different complex blends of chemical compound are released at varied concentration in the air from burning wood. Harmful by-products of combustion result in air pollution. Burning wood produces many toxic components. Carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, dioxins and tiny particulates of creosote, soot, metals and ash that go deep into the lungs.

Eye irritations, headaches, fatigue, coughing and damage to the lungs are frequent.

  • Wood smoke reduces oxygen’s transportation to the bloodstream, therefore constricting blood vessels and stressing the heart.
  • It contributes to cancers and autoimmune diseases.
  • In 2007, it has caused over 2.7 million sudden, premature deaths worldwide.

Unfortunately for many, especially in poor countries this may be the only viable solution.



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