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Take Back the Air
 From Wood Smoke
Please don't burn wood


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About Take Back the Air:

This website is designed to provide basic information on how to press for wood smoke reduction with public officials and others who need to better understand the hazards of wood smoke.

 We are connected with other wood smoke activists in the United States and Canada and we may be able to connect you with others in your area who are working on these issues.

We are also involved with an online newsletter 'The Wood Smoke Activist Network' which publishes monthly articles to help fight wood smoke pollution at the grassroots to government levels.

With skyrocketing asthma rates, and with asthma as the number one reason for school absenteeism, we recognize that cities have 'accessibility requirements' that require the removal of all barriers to the use of public spaces for people with disabilities, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). To persons with asthma and other breathing or cardiac disorders, wood smoke presents an actual physical barrier that prevents increasing numbers of people, especially those with asthma, from attending public events and using public spaces such as city parks, streets and sidewalks.

Facts about wood smoke:

These pollutants are especially hazardous to breathe because they all contain many of the same toxic, cancer-causing and hormone disrupting chemicals that are in tobacco smoke including lead, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, benzene, toluene, formaldehyde and dioxin to name a few.

They can infiltrate both private and public spaces, such as parks, streets and sidewalks, depriving many people of the basic right to breathe clean air, even on their own properties. They are all a source of fine particulates and VOCs (volatile organic compounds). VOCs and fine particles are so miniscule that they escape filters and other containment.

Their toxic chemicals are so "bioaccumulative", which means that they build up and do not break down in the environment or in our lungs. They are left to do damage over time in our bodies and to new generations through our water, soil, crops, fish, fowl and our entire food chain.

Wood smoke: Not just a nuisance..... it is a severe health hazard

Before smoking bans prohibited smoking in bars and restaurants, people at least had a choice to not patronize smoking establishments. But, no one has that choice now, even on our own properties. We are forced to breathe wood smoke in all seasons from back yard fire pits, indoor chimneys, wood-burning restaurants and from travelling 'smokers' and also wood-burning grills at public events.

Public bonfires have become the norm for many public, athletic and school events. Smoke from outdoor recreational wood burning has increased exponentially since the indoor smoking bans, corresponding with the high asthma rates and absenteeism in our city schools.

There is currently no place or agency where anyone can turn to for relief from wood smoke. We hope you will join our efforts toward cleaner air in our communities. Our lives and that of our loved ones depend on banding together for a 'larger voice'.

The science on wood stoves is clear: There is no safe level of wood smoke. It is a well-documented public health hazard, according to the MN Department of Health, US Centers of Disease Control, the American Lung Associaton and many others.

The higher the particle pollution level in neighborhoods and cities, the higher the premature death rates in general population.

Residential recreational wood burning and restaurant wood burning are major sources of toxic balck carbon soot in neighborhoods where high concentrations of people live.

Wood smoke can trigger asthma attacks, heart attacks and premature death in people of all ages. Children and unborn children are among the most vulnerable along with the elderly or anyone with asthma, cardiac conditions or other lung or breathing problems. These groups comprise a significant portion of our population.

The Harvard School of Public Health studied 5 major American cities during a 3-month experimental ban on wood burning. During that period they found that hospital death rates from respiratory disease and heart attacks went down dramatically.

London has banned wood, solid fuel and coal burning since 1957 when about 4,500 people died in a high-particulate smog event, called the 'London Smog Incident'.

Wood smoke's fine particles are implicated in:

  • Asthma
  • Heart disease and heart attacks
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Reproductive and other birth defects, such as genital defects in babies
  • Autism, Aspergers Syndrome, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Other neurological disorders including migraines, hyperactivity and drowsiness
  • Cancer

Property Rights

  • Wood smoke violates the property rights of taxpayers to use and enjoy their property smoke-free.

Accessibility and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

  • Wood smoke presents a 'physical barrier' that may prevent some people with disabilities such as asthma or heart disease from accessing public spaces.
  • Cities have accessibility requirements under the ADA Guidelines that require cities to remove all barriers to the use and access of public spaces for people with disabilities. It is the law.

Global warming; Climate change

1. Wood smoke's black carbon soot is increasingly implicated in climate change/global warming:


2. Wood smoke is a major source of fine particulate carbon soot emissions which pollute clouds and interferes with the seeding of rain.



3. The United Nations (UN) urges wood smoke reduction.






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takebacktheair.com is intended to give you, the reader, the facts, latest news, and opinions about the effects of wood smoke and how it affects the lives of so many. In no way do we endorse or discredit any product that may be discussed on this website. takebacktheair.com simply gives you, the reader, information so that you can make sound judgments with the information provided.