Solid Fuel Heaters and Wood Smoke

Topics on this page:

Is wood smoke dangerous?

What does Hunter New England Health Say

Why is Armidale so badly affected?

Want to check the air quality of Armidale yourself?

What we can doCost-effective ways to reduce energy bills

If you must use a wood-burning heater, follow these steps to help reduce air pollution

What’s being done to fix Armidale’s problem?

Council approvals needed to install a new wood heater

Helpful resources

Is wood smoke dangerous?

A solid body of scientific evidence has confirmed that wood smoke can have adverse effects on our health and reduce life expectancy. Like tobacco, wood is an organic fuel that emits harmful compounds when burnt. PM2.5 – solid particles less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter – have harmful effects, especially for pregnant women, children and the elderly. The particles are so small they behave like gases and are breathed deeply into the lungs, where they can trigger or worsen respiratory illnesses such as asthma, pneumonia and chronic bronchitis. Health experts say there is no safe level of PM2.5 pollution. Like gases, PM2.5 enter our homes even when all doors and windows are closed. In old weatherboard homes, on still nights, PM2.5 pollution from wood smoke often reaches the same high level as outdoors. PM2.5 are linked to raised blood pressure, inflammation and can enter the bloodstream to be transported to every organ in the body, including the brainNSW Health sayslong-term exposure to particulate matter decreases lung function and increases the risk of developing heart and lung diseases like angina and chronic bronchitis (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).” NSW EPA says: “If you can see or smell smoke from your wood heater then you are causing a problem for yourself, your family and your neighbours.” Their wood smoke awareness video emphasises that “wood smoke isn’t good smoke”.