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Bay Area air quality enforcers remind public to use fireplaces mindfully this holiday

Bay Area Air Quality Management District is reminding people that burning wood or other items in the home fireplace can pollute the air and create health problems.

“Smoke from wood-burning fireplaces and stoves emits harmful air pollution that reduce local air quality and can cause respiratory conditions in many individuals, especially children, seniors and those with heart or lung conditions,” the government agency stated in a news release Friday.

In addition to wood smoke warnings, BAAQMD issued a warning around burning wrapping paper in the fireplace, something that may seem like an easy way to dispose of it. But in actuality, wrapping paper contains synthetic inks, plastic film, metallic finishes and other chemicals which release toxic and carcinogenic compounds into the air when burned.

Triggers of air pollution are particularly important during the evening and night, when cool air sinks close to the ground. A layer of warmer air above it asks like a lid, trapping any toxic pollutants close to land where people can easily breathe them in.

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