I am so glad Marcel Gagne has so many benefits from burning wood (Woodstove user says benefits are plentiful, Feb. 22 Letter) and he even manages to do a bit of lip service regarding people with asthma.
However I would like to point out that there are hundreds of us in this beautiful valley who are having to use very expensive drugs every day because of all the wood smoke in the air.
Without paying for and using these inhaled steroids with potentially serious side effects including: white patches in your mouth/on your tongue, signs of infection (such as fever, chills, cough, persistent sore throat), vision problems, increased thirst/urination, easy bruising/bleeding, mental/mood changes (such as depression, mood swings, agitation), bone pain, we can not breathe and, in my opinion, breathing is slightly more important than burning wood.
I too love a wood fire but I love breathing more.
I have been mostly housebound this winter because of air quality.
Also asthma is not the only problem affected by wood smoke, COPD and chronic bronchitis and emphysema are also made much worse by wood smoke. Many of us are seniors on government pensions that are far below the poverty line and until we pay out the annual deductible Pharmacare does not cover the costs of the drugs we must use in order to live.
Some things to consider before promoting burning wood as being beneficial.