Thursday, December 17, 2015

The holiday tradition we would be better off without

Quiz:  what holiday tradition is bad for everyone's health, and also bad for the planet?
Hint:  "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire..."

Yes, that cheerful wood-burning fireplace that confronts us everywhere in image and song at this time of year, is actually a little toxic incinerator.

Wood smoke is very similar to second-hand tobacco smoke, comprised of many of the same carcinogenic chemicals, plus an extra dose of lung-clogging fine particulate matter.   Seniors and children are at most risk, but anyone with allergies, asthma, heart or lung problems may suffer a medical crisis from exposure to smoke from a nearby home.

The Canadian Lung Association recommends that wood NOT be burned in homes; check their website for their statement on Residential Wood Burning, under "Expert Opinions".

Peace, goodwill, clean air, and good health to all.

The above text appeared as a UR Opinion piece on the Sentinel Review's website on Dec. 15, 2015.

Further reading, links at right:
The fireplace delusion, by Sam Harris
UPHE  17 reasons to ban wood burning

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