Indoor wood, candle burning may create potentially hazardous air quality
Less than 4 hours of indoor candle or wood burning daily significantly increased daily exposure to potentially hazardous, combustion-derived carbonaceous particulate matter among older residents in Northern Finland, according to findings recently published in Indoor Air.
“In developed countries there are still a limited number of studies where personal and indoor determinants of wood burning are studied,” Taina Siponen, of the National Institute for Health and Welfare, Kuopio, Finland, and colleagues wrote, adding that residents of these areas spend most of their time inside.
Researchers measured indoor exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) — regarded as the “most important environmental risk factor” when determining disease burden — and its light absorption coefficient (PM2.5abs) — a proxy for combustion-derived black carbon — among 37 older residents in a Northern Finland city that has low ambient air pollution levels. Participants spent an average of 92% of their time indoors during the 6-month winter-spring study.
Siponen and colleagues found that wood burning via masonry heater, wood-fired sauna stove or recreational open fireplace lasted an average of 2.3 hours daily and increased a participant’s PM2.5abs by 9%, indoor PM2.5abs by 7% and indoor PM2.5 exposure levels by 20%. Candle burning lasted an average of 3.6 hours daily and increased a participant’s PM2.5abs levels by 8% and indoor PM2.5abs by 10%. Cooking with electric stoves and/or ovens was linked to increased levels of indoor PM2.5, but there was no link between this activity and personal exposure to PM2.5 or PM2.5abs.
Researchers also found that homes with natural ventilation — where building air supply and extraction are based on pressure differences inside and outside the building — had higher levels of hazardous particles. – by Janel Miller
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.