HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital is encouraging residents to use an alternate method to dispose of their yard waste this year as smog from leaf burning can lead to health complications and air pollution.
Leaf burning can 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.
Dr. Kabbes suggested the following alternatives which would help out those who suffer from respiratory health issues. “Try composting or mulching your leaves – these methods help return nutrients to the grass. It is God’s way of fertilizing your lawn,” he said. “By considering alternative options to leaf burning, we can work together to have a positive and lasting impact on our community’s health.”
For those who have to burn, the City of Effingham and Lake Sara both have designated burning times. Effingham’s burn times are Friday, Saturday, and Monday from sunrise to 6 p.m. and Lake Sara burn times are Monday though Saturday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.