Researchers at Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University have warned that excessive use of fireplaces instead of other forms of heating creates dangerous pollution inside homes, saying that microparticles in closed spaces can exceed maximum safety levels set by European authorities within just two or three hours of lighting a fire.
The university’s Chemical Engineering Department has been conducting extensive research into the effects of burning wood in a variety of different fireplaces and stoves on the air inside 40 homes in the northern port city.
According to their results, moderate use of a wood-burning device leads to a concentration of particulates in the air which is more than three times advisable levels, posing a risk to health.
“Even more worrying is the rise in the number of smaller particles,” says Dimosthenis Sarigiannis, associate professor of environmental engineering at Aristotle University.
“In a home with a fireplace, particulates with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 1 micrometer (PM1) reach 25,000 per cubic meter, against around 10,000 in a home without a fireplace.
“These levels are not restricted to a few meters around the fireplace. They are all over the room and spread out to the entire house,” he warned.