If you use firewood to heat your home, be aware that wood has its drawbacks such as harmful emissions. According to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, wood smoke “contains toxic carbon monoxide, smog-causing nitrogen oxides, soot, fine particles, and a range of other chemicals and gases that can cause or worsen serious health problems, particularly among children, pregnant women, and people with breathing difficulties.”

The biggest health threat from smoke is from fine particulate matter (PM2.5.) These microscopic particles can get into your eyes and respiratory system where they can cause burning eyes, runny nose, and illnesses, such as bronchitis. Fine particles can make asthma symptoms worse and also trigger heart attacks, strokes, irregular heart rhythms, and heart failure, especially in people who are already at risk for these conditions.

Note that Newton is one of 22 municipalities in Massachusetts that does not allow open burning of solid fuels including wood.

Learn more about the health and environmental effects of fine particles.