Asthma Australia is encouraging people across the country to make the switch away from wood heaters and help clean up our winter air.
New data analysis reveals that most people who report regularly using a wood heater may not need to burn it as they also report using other forms of heating regularly.
Smoke pollution from domestic wood heaters is one of the largest sources of air pollution during winter months in many areas. It is directly linked to increased asthma symptoms, hospitalisations, and premature deaths.
New analysis from Asthma Australia’s Homes, Health and Asthma survey has found that, among people who use heating regularly during winter months, 32% use more than one type of heating. Among people who regularly use a wood heater, 71% also regularly use another type of heating, with 50% regularly using an efficient form of heating like reverse cycle or central air conditioning.
“Asthma Australia encourages people who can make that choice not to use unhealthy wood heaters this winter,” CEO of Asthma Australia Michele Goldman said. “Wood heaters are an inefficient form of home heating that causes air pollution and anyone who has an efficient alternative form of heating available, should move away from wood heating. Tiny smoke particles are breathed in deep into our airways, which is not only problematic for asthma and other respiratory conditions but causes problems when these fine particulates enter the bloodstream.
“We get many complaints from people in the community who are completely frustrated by smoke produced by their neighbours’ wood heaters. They feel helpless to escape the smoke, which triggers their asthma and affects their lives. In fact, a nationally representative survey by Asthma Australia found less than a third of people are able to protect themselves from woodfire heater smoke when it’s present.”
Looking across the country, wood heaters are most popular in TAS (30%) and ACT (15%).
Asthma Australia wants to see wood heaters phased out in residential areas and is calling on all levels of governments to tackle this issue, with the majority of the community agreeing wood heaters should not be allowed in urban and built-up areas and supporting a phase out.
More information about Asthma Australia’s position on wood heaters can be found on our website here. Asthma Australia has a number of policy recommendations to minimise the harm caused by wood heater smoke which are detailed in our Wood Heaters and Asthma Policy Position Statement.
Community advocates across Australia are passionately highlighting the dangers of wood heaters and campaigning for cleaner winter air.
One way people can be proactive and find out how the air quality is tracking in their own area is the new AirSmart App which everyone can download for free on our website.
ABOUT ASTHMA AUSTRALIA
Asthma Australia’s purpose is to help people breathe better so they can live freely. The organisation delivers evidence-based prevention and health strategies to more than 500,000 people each year. The support Asthma Australia provides helps not only those living with the condition, but literally changes the lives of those who care for them and stand ready to provide lifesaving support to their loved ones, often when least expected.
For more information, local case studies and interviews, please contact: Corrine Barraclough, firstname.lastname@example.org or 0435 346822.