DES MOINES, Iowa – Burning a cleaner fire in wood stoves or fireplaces over the winter months is helpful to the health of Iowans, and also to the state’s climate, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Alison Davis, a senior adviser in the EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, says a good way to burn the hottest and most efficient fire is to use only dry, seasoned wood.
“The reason this is important is that dry wood burns more completely, and that benefits you in two ways,” she explains. “One, you get more energy out of the firewood, because it burns more of the actual wood itself. And the other is, the fire then produces less smoke.”
It’s also suggested that to maintain proper airflow and efficiency, regularly remove the ashes from your wood burning stove or fireplace. Davis adds that wood smoke produces fine particle pollution, which can be harmful to human health.
“When you breathe in air that has fine particles in it, it can penetrate deep into the lungs where it can harm the heart, the blood vessels and the lungs,” she stresses. “Fine particles are linked to heart attacks, strokes.” In addition to particle pollution, there’s also the danger of smoke filled with toxins or harmful chemicals if certain materials end up in the fire.
So, the EPA advises never burning such items as plastics, foam and other garbage, or wood that’s been coated, painted, or pressure treated.
(Iowa News Service)