OLYMPIA ¾ When winter weather rolls around, people like to spend time indoors with family and friends. Frequently, that means enjoying a fire in the home fireplace — but the smoke from that fire may be a health hazard for some people.
Winter is also the home heating season. Often, November through January bring winter weather patterns that cause stagnant air. At these times, air pollution — especially from wood stoves and fireplaces — is trapped near the ground, where it collects. Smoke contains fine particles and gases that can be breathed deep into the lungs. Such pollutants can threaten the health of people with heart disease, asthma, and lung diseases, as well as children and older adults.
Breathing polluted air can cause short and long-term health problems. People with heart and lung diseases may have symptoms sooner than healthy adults. Older adults often have unrecognized heart or lung disease that puts them at risk. Children spend more time outdoors, where they can breathe air pollution. Children’s lungs are more easily damaged because they’re still developing.