Saturday, March 21, 2015

The heart hazard on your hearth

As we near the end of Heart Month, I would like to draw attention to the position statement posted by the Heart & Stroke Foundation, entitled:  Air Pollution, Heart Disease and Stroke.  It informs us that:  "During the winter months in Canada, wood-burning stoves and fireplaces can be sources of dangerous air pollution, contributing 28% of the fine particulate matter in the air."
Wood smoke contains many of the same toxic chemicals as tobacco smoke, and is a health hazard to young and old.  If you can smell the smoke, you are inhaling the toxins, and it is best to avoid exertion (like snow shoveling).
The Government of Canada on its Healthy Canadians website is blunt in its advice:  AVOID WOOD SMOKE.
If you feel that a wood fire is a comfort in your home, consider this image by Sam Harris in The Fireplace Delusion:  "the sight of a glowing hearth should be about as comforting as the sight of a diesel engine idling in your living room".
Be kind to your heart, and all those hearts around you.  Learn more... and don't burn wood.

The above text appeared as a "UR Opinion" on the Sentinel Review's website on February 26, 2015.

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