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Australian Study: Wood Smoke May Be Deadly

Posted on January 15, 2013
by Wendy Stackhouse
Wood Stove in Country Store
Photo by coopgreg via stock.xchng

Wood stoves were hot sellers in Tasmania, an island south of Australia, in the 1980’s and 1990’s. “They were used as a primary heating source” in many homes but they appear to have had a profound effect on the health of the people living in those homes.

A study was done on the citizens of Launceston, Tasmania and found some very interesting results. The study researched the health of the residents of Launceston in the 6.5 years before and after a public health campaign which both educated the public about wood smoke and offered replacement heaters for wood stoves. Between 2001 and 2004, wood stove use in Launceston went from 66% of homes to 30%.

Due to these efforts, particulate matter was reduced dramatically and the health effects were remarkable, especially for the men in the study:

“11% lower all-cause mortality
18% lower cardiovascular mortality
23% lower respiratory mortality”

The researchers conclusion: improvement in the air quality made a definite improvement in people’s health and outcomes.

Before you light your fireplace, be sure that your ventilation system is working well. Replace your air filters regularly and have your ducts and HVAC system cleaned once a year. You’ll be glad you did!

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