The US Environmental Protection Agency explains that wood smoke can affect everyone, but children, adolescents, the elderly, and people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or people with heart disease are vulnerable. Research shows that certain types of pain and diabetes may also increase your risk. New or pregnant mothers should also be careful how they protect their children’s health.
But the situation in our country shows that, due to the low cost of other sources of energy, there are many families that use wood to generate heat inside their homes, to cook, heat water and dry clothes. Firewood is one of the most used biofuels in the country during autumn and winter, especially in southern Chile.
“Together with the Ministries of Energy and Environment, we want to call on the community to buy in places that have seals and certification, because in this way we heat our homes better and guarantee better air quality,” the undersecretary of Agriculture emphasized; Ignacia Fernández
In this way, the Ministry of Agriculture recommends paying attention to the following characteristics: Dry logs are light, dark in color and have a rough bark. In addition, they do not have stains of any kind and they have cracked ends from the long drying time. The moisture content of the wood material should be less than 25% moisture.
Dry wood does not present visible smoke and generates efficient thermal energy. In this way, polluting emissions are minimal, compared to wet wood, it has a low calorific value and produces visible and highly polluting smoke.
When buying dry wood, the supply must measure less than 25% moisture. On the other hand, you must request a purchase document or tax receipt and request a free Pass Guide issued by the National Forestry Corporation (Conaf) to the wood sales centers. This document certifies that the timber comes from forests that have an approved management plan.
The contamination of wet wood is also aggravated by the inefficiency of the heating equipment and the poor thermal conditions in the houses, which is why we recommend cleaning the smoke ducts of the ventilation and the heating wood once a year, maintaining it monthly.
It is important not to use in the circulation of firewood completely closed, since it increases the emission of particulate matter, which increases health, especially in older adults, less in growth. It is also suggested to light the fire using paper and dry wood and make sure that no visible smoke is emitted, which is an obvious sign of incomplete combustion.
The cold winter is approaching and human work is needed, such as paraffin fireplaces, cocoa-nut oil, wood pellets, and gas stoves, the combustion of which brings comfort in heating the baths. But it is necessary to consider the risks associated with indoor contamination, due to the presence of substances or polluting agents that can be emitted by cooking, lighting, building materials, cleaning products, ventilation systems and other elements in the domestic environment.
In this sense, Sebastián Amaro, professor of risk prevention Federico Santa Maria at the Technical University (UTFSM), explains: “Child combustion brings with it a deadly enemy, carbon monoxide. This bad character is a gas with a weight very similar to air and therefore it is best distributed in the place where it is generated. In addition, its presence causes a barrier of oxygen to the cells, when its concentration is low and heavy, causing failure to death, at higher concentrations.
Amaro offers a series of recommendations to enjoy the winter and not regret dangerous accidents and accidents: “It is important to carry out professional cleaning and maintenance of fireplaces, heaters and heaters before intensive use. It is important to ventilate the heated area, allowing the exchange of gases and the possible elimination of carbon monoxide In addition, immediately turn off weapons if there are small inconveniences that occur when turning, such as dizziness and redness of the face, as well as weapons that, from use or time, generate smoke or no longer have any capacity.
As a final recommendation, Professor Sebastián Amaro explains that you should never use bracelets, sticks or the like inside the house or closed areas, and never lock yourself in a small room with a fireplace. The aforementioned health problems can be caused, such as respiratory diseases, allergies, asthma, eye and skin irritation, headaches, with possible complications.
By Sergius Pena Herrera