Health effects of wood smoke

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Burning wood produces an array of harmful chemicals. Carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, formaldehyde and at least 100 other compounds that damage indoor and outdoor air are given off when wood is burned.

Wood smoke creates tiny particles of material commonly known as particulate matter. These particles get inhaled into our lungs. Breathing wood smoke can increase cardiovascular problems such as angina, irritate lungs and eyes, trigger headaches, hinder judgment, slow reflexes and worsen respiratory diseases such as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis.

While wood smoke harms us all, it’s especially harmful to babies, children, pregnant women, their unborn children and the elderly. About 5 percent of the Denver area's wintertime brown cloud is caused by wood smoke.