The Environmental Impact of Wood Smoke
Wood smoke is air pollution. It’s as simple as that.
You might think that using your fireplace or woodstove is not a big problem, but wood smoke pollution really adds up: In the winter months, burning wood accounts for more than 30% of the particle pollution in the San Francisco Bay Area.
According to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, burned wood releases more particle pollution than the entire region’s vehicles and businesses.
Residential wood burning also produces a laundry list of other pollutants such as mercury, carbon monoxide, greenhouse gases, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides. The VOCs react with nitrogen oxides to form ground-level ozone and with water vapor to form acid rain.
Wood burning is the second largest source of dioxins in the Bay Area. These dioxins end up in the bay, ocean, creeks, and soil, where they accumulate in fish and livestock, poisoning our food supply.