Air purifiers and Wood Smoke

It may take many by surprise the dangers of inhaling wood smoke. In comparison to Tobacco smoke, research indicates that Tobacco smoke damages the body 30 seconds after it is inhaled while wood smoke continues to damage the body 20 minutes after it is inhaled. Wood smoke contains gases such as nitrogen oxides, carcinogenic compounds like benzene, formaldehyde and dioxins. The particles of wood smoke are extremely small and cannot be filtered out by the nose or the upper respiratory system. These small particles can end up deep in the lungs and remain for months causing serious health issues. Wood smoke can worsen asthma, and is especially harmful for infants, children, pregnant women, and the elderly.

How to tell if smoke is affecting you:

  • Coughing
  • Scratchy throat
  • Irritated Sinuses
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Headache
  • Stinging eyes

Protect Yourself

Although most wood smoke is vented outside, it can still enter your home. The particulate matter contained in wood smoke is so small that it can easily penetrate windows and doors. As the awareness of the danger in wood smoke continues to increase, many are researching the benefits of using air purifiers to filter out wood smoke. Smoke is made up of 2 components; very fine and course particulate matter (dust and soot) and Volatile Organic Compounds (chemical gases). Only HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters can remove such small particulates. HEPA filters have the ability to trap 99.97% of all airborne particles that are as small as 0.3 microns in size and 95% of the minutest particles down to 0.1 micron. HEPA filters however, cannot remove chemical gases so an activated carbon will also need to be used. Using these two filters together will protect you from the dangers of wood smoke. If you have an infant in your household you will want to place a HEPA filter near the crib, because particle pollution is known to interfere with lung developments in infants.

An air purifier will reduce both the short term effects such as coughing and congestion, as well as the long term health effects. The most effective air purifiers used to remove wood smoke are HEPA filters and Carbon Activated filters working together. HEPA filters work to remove the small particulates in the air that our body cannot protect us from and Carbon Activated filters protect us from the chemical gases in the air.

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