Air quality can be bad during the summer. While we are all doing our part to limit ozone air pollution by carpooling, riding our bikes, turning off lights and planting trees, there’s another air pollution danger that you need to know about: wood smoke, but its official name is Particulate Matter 2.5.
Whether it’s lighting a campfire to toast marshmallows, or gathering around the backyard fire pit on a cooler summer night, these activities create wood smoke, which contains some of the same harmful things found in cigarette smoke.
Wood smoke particles are very small, so they don’t get filtered by our nose or lungs. Instead, these small particles end up deep inside our lungs where they can stay for months. This can hurt your lungs and even increase your risk for illnesses like pneumonia.
It’s important that you encourage your family not to burn wood on days when the air pollution is bad. Share these tips about how to reduce wood smoke pollution and protect your family’s health:
- Tell your parents to make sure the chimney gets cleaned
- Make sure your parents use dry wood when making a fire
- Try not to inhale any smoke – if you are sitting around a camp fire and the smoke is blowing towards you, move to a different spot
- If you burn wood in your fireplace at home, consider switching to an electric or gas fireplace
- Don’t burn garbage or wrapping paper in your fireplace or fire pit
- Do not leave a fire burning if you are going to bed
Help me reduce wood smoke pollution! I would love to hear tips from you, too! Send me your ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org. I also like to get out and meet new friends and I might be in your area soon. Check out “Scooter’s Calendar” on the right side of this page to see where I will be next.