Puget Sound Clean Air Agency

Photo: Daughter in foreground, dad with smoking burnpile in backgroundWhy wood smoke is harmful to your health

Smoke from fireplaces and wood stoves and from backyard and land-clearing burn piles is composed of fine particles and a toxic mix of other carcinogens that are hazardous to human health. Fine particles are associated with serious health effects, as the tiny size of these pollutants allows them to be easily inhaled, bypassing the immune system and proceeding deep into your lungs, where they can cause respiratory and cardiovascular problems, including premature death.

Our current levels are higher than the health goal established by the Clean Air Agency’s Board of Directors, which is why achieving further reductions in fine particles is one of our top priorities to protect public health.

Clean, healthy air starts with YOU

Individual fires generate nearly all the wood smoke pollution in our region, which is why individual actions can make the clean air difference. Here are four easy ways you can reduce wood smoke emissions. It all adds up to cleaner air!

  1. Heat smart, heat healthy. In your home and business, opt for the cleanest heating practice available to you.

  2. Spurn the burn outdoors. Curb, chip, or compost your yard waste instead.

  3. Be informed. Check the air quality forecast at www.pscleanair.org or sign up for the Clean Air Agency’s burn ban notification for timely information on air quality conditions.

  4. Spread the word. Educate your family, friends and neighbors about how they can help clear the air too.

More information on smoke: