With cooler temperatures arriving, the American Lung Association is warning people that, while comfortable, a roaring fire could impact your health. Burning wood emits potentially harmful toxins that can worsen breathing problems and lead to heart and lung problems such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and possibly even death.

In those who suffer from the disabling conditions of asthma or COPD are especially threatened by wood smoke, which those with lung disease should actively avoid it. The American Lung Association recommends that people use heat sources that are cleaner and less toxic, such as natural gas or propane. It says that will eliminate exposure to toxins such as dioxin, arsenic, and formaldehyde that are produced by wood.

Though natural gas and propane may be cleaner than wood, the American Lung Association says that gas and propane stoves be directly vented outside the home in order to reduce exposure to carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and other emissions.

If you do use wood, the American Lung Association urges that homeowners use only 100 percent untreated wood or manufactured fireplace logs. You should purchase your wood early in the year and store it in a covered location for at least six months. Doing so will allow sufficient time for the wood to dry thoroughly and burn more efficiently with less pollution.

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