Wood Smoke

Many of us have fond memories of telling stories or roasting marshmallows while a warm campfire blazes.  But many of us also suffer from the harmful effects of wood smoke, and know of neighbors who seem willing to burn anything, at any time.

Wood smoke is not harmless. While wood itself is quite benign, incomplete burning of wood creates a slew of toxins, including particulate matter, carbon monoxide, benzo(a)pyrene, nitrogen dioxide, and on and on. These pollutants can irritate respiratory tracts and are linked to higher rates of stroke, heart attacks, and cancers.

GASP realizes that not everyone will give up burning overnight. But what you burn and how you burn it can have an effect on some of the pollution you are creating. So if you do burn, please follow these tips to reduce your pollution.

Click here to download GASP’s wood smoke brochure, which covers most of the above information. Feel free to print it out and distribute it to anyone and everyone.

One of the dirtiest ways to burn wood is by using an outdoor wood-fired boiler, or OWB. Please click here to learn more about these appliances and state regulations concerning them.

If you are suffering from unreasonable burning from a neighbor and you live in Allegheny County, you can call the Allegheny County Health Department (412) 687-ACHD or click here to report an odor or opacity violation.  If you are outside of Allegheny County, call PA DEP at (412) 442-4184 to file a complaint, or (412) 442-4184 for emergencies.  Please let GASP know if you contact ACHD or DEP and how your complaint was handled by contacting jamin@gasp-pgh.org.