As of this autumn, RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment will advise against burning wood in unfavourable weather conditions and or poor air quality. RIVM will issue a wood-burning alert calling on people not to burn wood for residential heating. This can prevent health problems in people in the area.
For some people, burning wood in a fire basket, stove or fireplace is a pleasant and cosy activity. However, it also has a downside: the smoke is unhealthy. Burning wood releases harmful substances, such as fine dust, hydrocarbons (PAHs), benzene and carbon monoxide. The smoke is unhealthy for everyone, but people with respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, the elderly and children are most likely to be affected. They may develop more and much sooner symptoms from wood smoke.
Unfavourable weather and poor air quality
When there is little wind, the smoke lasts longer. And if the air quality is already poor, for example in the case of smog caused by fine dust, smoke exacerbates the situation.
How does the alert work?
RIVM has daily contact with the KNMI Royal Meteorological Institute about the weather forecast. And when it comes to air quality, RIVM has access to information from airmeetnet.nl. If the weather forecast is unfavourable or the air quality poor, RIVM will send out a wood heating alarm.
Anyone can sign up for the alert. Employees of municipalities, provinces, environmental services and the Municipal Public Health Service (GGD) can include the information from the alerts in the communication for the public in their region. In case of a wood heating alert, subscribers receive a message via e-mail.