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  4. 3 Sources of Smoke in the Home and How it Affects Your Indoor Air Quality
  • How Does Smoke Affect Your Indoor Air?

    Love to light a fire on chilly nights? Think twice before curling up.

    Fill your home with favorite scents to celebrate fall.
    • There are several ways smoke can end up in your air: wood-burning ovens, candles, and cigarettes and cigars, to name a few. While some smoke, such as a fireplace, may smell nice and remind us of outdoor adventures, your respiratory system is not a fan. Read on to learn more about the different types of smoke and what they add to your air.

    • Wood

      Does your home have a wood-burning oven or fireplace? Be wary of both short- and long-term exposure to wood smoke. When wood burns it releases pollutants including benzene, formaldehyde and acrolein.

      The Environmental Protection Agency explains that effects can range from acute bronchitis and asthma attacks to reduced lung function. Individuals with heart or lung conditions, new or expectant mothers and children should take extra care to limit their exposure to wood smoke*.

      If your home has a wood-burning oven or fireplace, install a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas released from wood that is not completely burned. An alarm will sound if CO levels increase, helping to keep you and your family safer*.

    • Candles and Incense

      In addition to staining walls, the smoke from candles—and the matches that light them—can irritate lungs and lead to coughing fits. Consumer Reports says that 34 percent of Americans use candles or incense. Both release soot and contain volatile organic compounds, which can prompt asthmatic and allergic responses**.

      If you are shopping for candles, try to avoid those made with paraffin wax, a petroleum byproduct***. Another downside for your home health: Pollutants from candles can cause issues for your ventilation.

    • Secondhand smoke

      Containing more than 7,000 substances, several of which are harmful to humans and animals, secondhand smoke has been identified as a human lung carcinogen****.

      Secondhand smoke can easily move between rooms, so if you ever have a guest who smokes, kindly ask them to go outside and away from the house.