Not long ago I met a couple who was telling me the wife had lung cancer. She never smoked, and they have been mostly on a very healthy, vegetarian diet. They are telling me that they don’t understand where this lung cancer came from.

Since a lot of people in my neighborhood in Santa Monica (Sunset Park) use fireplaces, I researched on the Internet what are the health effects of wood smoke. Wood smoke contains a hazardous mixture of chemical substances such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds and dioxin. These chemicals are irritating, toxic, and/or cancer causing.

One of the biggest human health threats from smoke indoors or outdoors is composed of wood tars, gases, soot and ashes. Most of the particular matter in wood smoke is smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter. Their small size allows them to go deep into the lungs. They also could go through any barriers or walls.

Fine particles are considered [bad], especially for young children, the elderly and people of all ages. Wood smoke causes asthma, bronchitis, respiratory problems, cardiovascular disease and lung cancer.

One thing the City Council should do is look into the problems of the health of people who are in Santa Monica. Maybe you are breathing some good air during the day, but are sleeping at night in smoke.

What is the sense of living by the ocean and breathing in harmful air from wood smoke?


Ava Hauer

Santa Monica

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