Smoke from Residential Wood Burning
Smoke is made up of a complex mixture of gases and fine, microscopic particles produced when wood and other organic matter burn. The biggest health threat from wood smoke comes from fine particles (also called particulate matter). They are small enough to enter the lungs where they can cause bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, or other serious respiratory diseases. Fine particles can also aggravate chronic heart and lung diseases and are linked to premature deaths in people with these chronic conditions.
Many old, pot-bellied wood stoves are still functioning to provide warmth and a cooking fire in rural and tribal communities; but they may also be releasing wood smoke that is harmful to the health of everyone exposed to it, especially the young and the old. To avoid these inevitable health risks — and gain the greater efficiency and effectiveness of new, cleaner burning technology wood stoves — it is recommended that old stoves be gradually replaced or “changed out.”
Changing out wood stoves requires a financial investment; however, there are programs that provide financial assistance and manufacturers that provide discounts. The results of replacement speak for themselves with improvements in the health of children and community, home safety, visibility, and indoor air quality.
EPA certified wood stoves burn more efficiently and cleanly.
Visit EPA’s Burn Wise Website for more information about wood-burning appliances.
- Wood Smoke and Your Health - Learn the impacts of wood smoke on your health and the environment.
- Learn Before You Burn Wood - What You Can Do – Learn how to burn the right wood, the right way, in the right appliance.
- Wood Burning Installation and Maintenance – Guidance on effective installation of wood-burning appliances, which improves the overall safety.
- Implementing Wood-Burning Changeout Campaigns and Examples of Programs – Resources including a step-by-step guide designed for air quality program officials to use in putting together a wood stove changeout campaign and links to example programs.
- For Air Quality Program Officials - Information to help tribal, state, and local air quality officials to facilitate the wise use of burning wood.