Asthma sufferers have been advised to upgrade from old wood-burning stoves to new appliances to help relieve their symptoms.
Academic research conducted at the University of Melbourne, in Australia, found that using outdated stoves could increase the chances of asthma symptoms flaring up by 11 per cent.
The study looked at the effects of traffic pollution and wood smoke on middle-aged asthma sufferers. And the verdict was that people using old wood burning stoves increased the risk of aggravating existing asthma conditions.
It found no evidence between exposure to wood smoke and the onset of asthma.
Dr John Burgess, the study’s co-author, said: “It is now recommended that adults who suffer asthma should not live on busy roads and that the use of old wood heaters should be upgraded to newer heaters, to ensure their health does not worsen.”
Dr Burgess added: “Clean burning practices and the replacement of old polluting wood stoves by new ones are likely to minimise both indoor and outdoor wood smoke pollution and improve people’s health.”
Modern wood-burning stoves contain many technological innovations that are simply not found in the stoves discussed in the University of Melbourne’s research. The old polluting stoves referred to by Dr Burgess were essentially metal boxes with flue pipes attached.
Modern stoves include cleanburn technologies, baffle systems and carefully engineered air supplies, all of which ensure that harmful gases and particles that would once have been emitted are now burnt by the stove.
If you’re considering buying a salvaged stove, are on the lookout for a vintage stove or are thinking about making your own stove, it is worth keeping those key differences in mind. Aside from the health benefits discussed by Dr Burgess, the technology that modern stoves come equipped with also makes them more environmentally friendly.