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Green Heart: Burn Wise for Your Heart

2013 February 22

By Ann Brown

February—American Heart Month—is a time I renew my commitment to protect my heart.

I try to eat a healthier diet and exercise more. I check the local air quality before going outside to exercise since fine particle pollution in the air has been linked to heart disease. Fine particles harm the heart and blood vessels and can lead to heart attacks, stroke, and congestive heart failure, especially in people with heart disease.

I am aware of the environmental link between fine particle pollution and heart disease, but I didn’t realize until joining EPA’s Burn Wise program recently that smoke from wood stoves and wood-burning fireplaces is a significant source of fine particle pollution in many parts of the country. I was surprised to find out that there are about 12 million wood stoves and 29 million fireplaces in the U.S.

The good news is that people who burn wood can reduce fine particle pollution by following some simple steps. One way is to use a moisture meter, an inexpensive tool that you stick into wood to find out whether the wood is dry enough to burn efficiently. If the wood is wet, it creates more smoke and fine particle pollution in the air that can harm your health. Wet wood also costs you money and time since it will not produce as much heat. Find out more about how to use a moisture meter in the video Wet Wood is a Waste.

I’ve also recently learned that drying wood is easy, but requires a few steps. The best way to dry wood is to split it, stack it to allow air to circulate, and cover it or store it in a wood shed. This promotes drying and cleaner burning.  Find out more about how to properly split, stack, cover and store your wood in the video Split, Stack, Cover, Store.

These practices are a win-win for your pocketbook and your heart.  Visit EPA’s Burn Wise website to learn  more about ways to burn the right wood, the right way, in the right wood-burning appliance.

Learn more!

About the Author: Ann Brown is a communications specialist and is working in the Innovative Programs and Outreach Group in EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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2 Responses leave one →
  1. Arman.- permalink
    February 22, 2013

    Life Is Continually Demanded……….

    If motionless is pass away
    If careless is schizophrenia
    If fullness is cleric

    Life is collection of prohibition……
    Life is collection of expectation…..

  2. Gary Mastroeni permalink
    September 21, 2013

    What is the EPA’s position on people who refuse to burn seasoned wood? Like the wood boiler owners who have a firebox so large they can put an unsplit log into them. What is the EPA’s answer to people who unfortunately live next to this dirty polluting wood boilers? Why does the EPA conspire with the wood boiler manufacturers to develop “certification tests” that don’t simulate real world operating conditions. That the results of these tests understate the true amount of pollution that these wood boilers emit, and overstate the heat efficiency of these devices. Why did the EPA stand idly by while these same overstated heat efficiency numbers were used to subsidize the sale of these polluting wood boilers through the false filing of tax credits under the “Energy Star” program. Why did the EPA fail to develop emission standards for wood boilers in 1988 when it develop emission standards for wood stoves? Why has the EPA fail to fulfill its mandate under the Clean Air Act and develop New Source Performance Standards for wood boilers. (Which the EPA is required to do every 8 years, but to this date has not done once).

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