|2012 Feb. 10: NJ: The Record: Letters, Feb. 10, 2012
Wood smoke also contains fine particulatesthat are so small they will invade the bloodstream and cause tissue and organ damage.Excerpt:
Wood smoke is
dangerous to health
Cold weather also brings with it the smell of wood smoke in the air. Although that familiar smell may conjure up warm, cozy thoughts, it represents the most toxic and harmful pollutant in suburbia today.
Wood smoke and fumes are highly carcinogenic. In fact, one hour of burning wood emits more benzene than 27,000 cigarettes and more formaldehyde than 6,000 cigarettes. Wood smoke also contains fine particulates that are so small they will invade the bloodstream and cause tissue and organ damage.
The American Lung Association has done research that proves that exposure to wood smoke is a direct cause of multiple respiratory illnesses, including cancer, and it has declared that there is no safe level of wood smoke to breathe.
It is time for elected officials to enact a complete ban on residential wood burning in all of its forms: wood stoves, chimineas, fire pits and even fireplaces. The homes are simply too close together in suburban areas to expose the neighborhood to such toxic pollutants. We have done a great job passing laws against cigarette smoking in public, limitation of vehicle emissions and control of pollutants spewed from factory smokestacks, yet we allow our back yards and homes to be polluted with wood smoke.
Natural gas is far cleaner and, believe it or not, cheaper than burning wood. Burning wood is simply an aesthetic luxury. All humans have a right to breathe clean air. Let’s not continue to look the other way because our neighbors want to create ambiance or roast marshmallows.
This is clearly a public health threat, and it should always be illegal to smoke out your neighbor.
North Haledon, Jan. 26
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