Study: Wood-burning stoves ‘can cause cancer and heart disease’

February 7th, 2011 - 9:39 pm ICT by Aishwarya Bhatt  

Copenhagen, Feb 7 (THAINDIAN NEWS) A researcher has warned that inhaling smoke from burning wood may be dangerous.

Professor Steffen Loft of Denmark warns that people who inhale wood smoke into their system may be putting their health at risk because it could potentially cause cancer and heart disease. Loft said tests revealed wood smoke have similar particles as those from car exhausts and coal powered stations.

He explained that, “The particles that come from wood smoke can certainly cause fatal heart or lung disease. In human cells that were exposed to the particles, substantial DNA damage and mutation took place. It was comparable to the effects of particles given off by traffic.”

Loft came to the conclusion after he tested the air in remote parts of Denmark and that of the cities. The test showed that the air in remote Denmark contained tiny airborne specks called “particulate matter” that couldn’t be seen with the eye. Particulate matters could damage the DNA. And DNA damage could lead to several cancers.

Loft revealed that though the full health impact of wood smoke is currently not fully known and understood, he warned that several people in developing countries could be at risk of major diseases. Several people in poorer countries use wood for cooking and warming their homes.

The full research was published in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.

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