Almost half of stove and open fire users are unaware of the air pollution impacts, a new survey has revealed.
Open fires and wood-burning stoves are often viewed as an aesthetic addition to a house, however, in reality, the use of these fires is having a dangerous impact on air pollution.
When wood is burned it releases harmful pollutants, including particulate matter (PM2.5). Exposure to PM2.5 can have a significant impact on public health and has been linked to many health implications, including heart disease, strokes and cancer.
As part of the Burn Better campaign, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) carried out a survey on over 2,000 stove users.
The survey revealed that while 40% of Brits think they will use their open fires or stoves more this winter, 49% of these respondents were completely unaware of the health impacts of doing so.
The research also revealed that 25% of people are still burning traditional house coal, one of the most polluting sources of fuel.
According to previous research conducted by Defra, almost two-fifths (38%) of PM2.5 in the UK comes from domestic wood-burners and open fires – therefore there is an urgent need to raise awareness of the dangerous impact that using these solid fuels for aesthetic purposes is having on our health.
Bruce Allen, CEO at the Heating Equipment Testing and Approvals Scheme (HETAS) said: ‘It’s worrying to see many people are burning materials that are harmful to air quality in the UK and are unaware of the negative impact burning the wrong type of fuels can have on their health.
‘With people due to spend more time in their homes this winter, I would urge everyone with an open fire or stove to consider improving burning habits by reassessing the types of fuels used.’
In related news, late last year Air Quality News investigated the impact that wood-burning stoves are having on indoor air pollution.
The research revealed that when using a wood-burning stove, the average PM2.5 level across 24 hours was 72.9 μg/m3, a level which is regarded as ‘unhealthy to all’, meaning that all those in the area are likely to be affected.
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