With the spring here, many are starting to clean up their lawns Through the winter months many yards have have seen leaves gather. One of the most common ways of getting rid of these leaves is by burning them. While everyone appreciates a neat lawn, HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital encourages people to consider alternative options to leaf burning that are less toxic to our environment and our family, friends and neighbors.
Leaf burning can be a nuisance to many and can hinder lives, particularly for those who struggle with respiratory health issues. Burning leaves pollute the air and make it hard for people to breathe, especially those with asthma, emphysema and other health concerns.
Douglas Kabbes, MD, Medical Director of St. Anthony’s Emergency Services, shared, “I have seen many people struggling with these respiratory health issues in our hospital ER. Inhaling the smoke generated by leaf burning can cause people to get sinus infections or pneumonia. For those with lung disease, asthma, emphysema or those with heart disease, it can be life threatening. Longer term risks include developing heart and lung disease, cancer and others,” he said. “The smoke from leaf burning can have particularly harsh effects on the very young and the elderly. What most people don’t realize is that second hand smoke from leaf burning is much worse than any second hand smoke related to cigarette smoking,” he explained.