Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Open Air Burning and Asthma (To Council, #5)

You probably know someone who suffers from asthma; according to Health Canada, this chronic condition afflicts 12.1% of the population of Ontario.

If you have been following the news about the forest fires elsewhere in the province, you may have heard special warnings directed at people who suffer from asthma, as well as for those with COPD, or other respiratory or cardiovascular problems.

What you should realize is that inhaling smoke from neighbourhood fire pits is just as dangerous as inhaling forest fire smoke.

Here is more information from the Lung Association, Asthma Canada, and the Government of Canada:

“Breathing in wood smoke can cause increased respiratory symptoms, increased hospital admissions, exacerbation of asthma and COPD, and decrease your ability to breathe normally. If you have a lung disease, breathing in wood smoke can make your disease worse and cause a flare-up.”

“Exposure to smoke of any kind, whether the source is tobacco, marijuana, forest fires or camp fires, can be harmful.”

“Asthma is one of the most common chronic respiratory diseases in Canada. It affects Canadians of all ages, but younger Canadians are disproportionately affected.
Symptoms of asthma include shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness. There is currently no cure for asthma; however, it can be well controlled by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, avoiding allergens and other triggers, quitting smoking, and taking medication properly.”

The number of residents of Woodstock who suffer from asthma is probably close to 5,000.
(2016 census population: 40,902 x provincial asthma rate 12.1%) = 4,949.


Now that you know that wood smoke may be triggering asthma attacks in approximately 5,000 residents (many of them children), how can Woodstock Council justify continuing the practice of open air burning?

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