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Air pollutants from fireplaces and wood-burning stoves raise health concerns

Date:
February 6, 2011
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Danish scientists have found that the invisible particles inhaled into the lungs from breathing wood smoke from fireplaces have multiple adverse effects.

With millions of people warding off winter's chill with blazing fireplaces and wood-burning stoves, scientists are raising red flags about the potential health effects of the smoke released from burning wood.

Their study, published in the American Chemical Society's (ACS') journal, Chemical Research in Toxicology, found that the invisible particles inhaled into the lungs from wood smoke may have several adverse health effects.

Steffen Loft, Ph.D., and colleagues cite the abundant scientific evidence linking inhalation of fine particles of air pollution -- so-called "particulate matter" -- from motor vehicle exhaust, coal-fired electric power plants, and certain other sources with heart disease, asthma, bronchitis and other health problems. However, relatively little information of that kind exists about the effects of wood smoke particulate matter (WSPM), even though millions of people around the world use wood for home heating and cooking and routinely inhale WSPM.

The scientists analyzed and compared particulate matter in air from the center of a village in Denmark where most residents used wood stoves to a neighboring rural area with few wood stoves, as well as to pure WSPM collected from a wood stove. Airborne particles in the village and pure WSPM tended to be of the most potentially hazardous size -- small enough to be inhaled into the deepest parts of the lungs. WSPM contained higher levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which include "probable" human carcinogens. When tested on cultures of human cells, WSPM also caused more damage to the genetic material, DNA; more inflammation; and had greater activity in turning on genes in ways linked to disease.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Pernille Hψgh Danielsen, Peter Mψller, Keld Alstrup Jensen, Anoop Kumar Sharma, Håkan Wallin, Rossana Bossi, Herman Autrup, Lars Mψlhave, Jean-Luc Ravanat, Jacob Jan Briedé, Theo Martinus de Kok, Steffen Loft. Oxidative Stress, DNA Damage, and Inflammation Induced by Ambient Air and Wood Smoke Particulate Matter in Human A549 and THP-1 Cell Lines. Chemical Research in Toxicology, 2011; 110114093314035 DOI: 10.1021/tx100407m

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Air pollutants from fireplaces and wood-burning stoves raise health concerns." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110205204159.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2011, February 6). Air pollutants from fireplaces and wood-burning stoves raise health concerns. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110205204159.htm
American Chemical Society. "Air pollutants from fireplaces and wood-burning stoves raise health concerns." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110205204159.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

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