Biomass burning is the largest source of particulate matter emissions in B.C. and the most pervasive is smoke from domestic wood heating.
One home heating with wood can produce as much pollution as 3,000 homes using natural gas.
Wood smoke is present in our blood stream within 60 seconds of inhaling it. Minutes later carbon monoxide can be detected in our blood and benzene in our exhaled breath.
From B.C. Air Quality: wood smoke contains tiny particles called particulate matter (PM), and a large array of organic and inorganic compounds — the normal byproducts of wood combustion.
It may also contain minute amounts of dioxins and furans and a variety of other proven and suspected carcinogens.
Particulate matter that is 2.5 microns or less in diameter, called PM2.5, is small enough to be breathed into the deepest parts of our lungs.
It is associated with all sorts of health problems — from a runny nose and coughing, to bronchitis, asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, heart disease and even death.
Senior citizens, infants and people who already have lung or heart problems are most at risk, but healthy younger adults and children can also be affected.
Please think of your neighbours before lighting that fire.