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Wood Fires Can Harm the Youngest Lungs
Date:11/6/2009

ncerns about infant exposure to traffic and wood-burning appliances," Karr said. "If they can avoid those things, they should. If they do use wood-burning appliances, they should use safety practices, making sure the appliances are properly vented and burn efficiently."

The study included such pollution because "here in the Pacific Northwest, we have more exposure to wood-burning stoves than in other places," Karr said.

"This study extends some past findings that wood smoke can be very irritating to the respiratory system, and has been shown to have effects on the lungs of children," said George Thurston, director of the Particulate Matter Health Effects Research Center in New York.

"Wood smoke seems to have the biggest effects on respiratory health, whereas fossil fuels seem to have the biggest effects on cardiac health, because they are more laden with metals," Thurston said.

The Pacific Northwest is unusual because of a higher concentration of wood-burning appliances, he said. "In other areas, traffic may dominate more," Thurston noted.

More information

The basics of bronchiolitis are explained by the American Academy of Family Physicians.



SOURCES: Catherine Karr, M.D., assistant professor, pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle; George Thurston, Ph.D., professor, environmental medicine, New York University School of Medicine, and director, Particulate Matter Health Effects Research Center, Tuxedo Park, N.Y.; Nov. 15, 2009, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, online


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