HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital is encouraging individuals to use other methods to get rid of leaves, rather than burning them.
While everyone likes to have a neat yard, burning leaves pollutes the air, as well as having adverse affects to those with breathing problems. Individuals that have asthma, emphysema, and other breathing issues struggle to breathe and can end up with sinus infection and pneumonia from the inhalation of the smoke from burning leaves.
Dr. Douglas Kabbes, MD, Medical Director of St Anthony’s Emergency Services stated, “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. 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,”.
Dr Kabbes suggested that instead of burning leaves, individuals can use healthier alternatives, such as mulching and composting. He also encourages those that insist on burning leaves to “please do so in a responsible manner. Wet or moist leaves burn slowly, smolder, and produce a great deal of smoke. Drier leaves burn quickly and produce less smoke”.
Burning has been limited to certain times and days by the City of Effingham and Effingham Water Authority at Lake Sara. To learn when burning is permitted visit the City of Effingham’s website or Effingham Water Authority’s website.