Asthma charity pleads with Britons NOT to use wood-burning stoves

Asthma charity pleads with Britons NOT to use wood-burning stoves this winter to prevent air pollution

  • Two leading UK charities urged people to stop using the wood-burner
  • Around 40 per cent of outdoor particulate pollution is caused by fire
  • Stoves are increasingly popula and used as a secondary source of heating

Wood-burning stoves should not be used this winter to prevent air pollution, a health charity urged yesterday.

In many homes, a wood-burning stove is an additional way to create a cosy home, and runs alongside central heating.

But yesterday Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation Partnership urged people with an alternative means of heating to stop using the wood-burner.

Around 40 per cent of outdoor particulate pollution is caused by wood-burners, coal fires and open fires

The reason is because of the fine sooty particles the stoves release into the atmosphere and – as research has shown – indoors into the home.

Sarah MacFadyen, head of policy at the charity, said: ‘We know that burning wood and coal releases fine particulate matter (PM2.5) – the most worrying form of air pollution for human health.

‘It’s therefore important to consider less polluting fuel options, especially if coal or wood is not your primary fuel source.’

Around 40 per cent of outdoor particulate pollution is caused by wood-burners, coal fires and open fires. 

She added: ‘We also need to see politicians doing more to raise awareness on the health dangers of wood and coal burning as part of a national health campaign on toxic air so people can make the best choices for their own health as well as the health of others around them.’

Dr Nick Hopkinson, medical director at the Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation Partnership, added: ‘To protect yourself and others, especially children who are particularly vulnerable as their lungs are smaller and still developing, avoid buying a wood-burning stove or using an open fire if you have another source of fuel to cook and heat your home with.’

Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation Partnership urged people with an alternative means of heating to stop using the wood-burner

The stoves are increasingly popular, being seen as a ‘lifestyle choice’ and used as a secondary source of heating. 

They are also viewed as a greener way to heat a home – ‘with a perception wood-burning stoves are low carbon, because they can use renewable fuels,’ according to University of Sheffield researchers.

They also produce less smoke inside a home than open fires.

However, despite this, the researchers, writing in the journal Atmosphere, said particle levels rose above the World Health Organisation limits of 25 micrograms of particulates per cubic metre of air per 24 hours. Over just four hours, the average particle levels were between 27 and 195 mcg per cubic metre.

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