As of the June 29, 2015 special village board meeting, Brookfield now allows recreational burning. But before you gather your family around a celebratory fire, you might want to consider the health dangers.

First, wood smoke pollution is 12 times more carcinogenic than cigarette smoke, and its fine particulate matter burrows deep into the lungs, staying chemically active 40 times longer than cigarette smoke. Just one hour of wood smoke exposure can lower an adult’s immune defense up to 40 percent or even bring on sudden cardiac arrest.

Second, fire smoke poses an even greater danger to children, increasing their risk for asthma, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Also, carcinogen exposure is cumulative. A recreational fire exposes every neighborhood child to additional pollution that might contribute to a future cancer.

Third, the fine particulate matter of wood smoke easily enters a neighbor’s home even when the windows are tightly closed. Therefore, one’s personal entertainment becomes unavoidable air pollution for the rest of the neighborhood.

Though recreational fires are now legal, lighting up those logs jeopardizes the health of your family and your neighbors. That’s a guarantee.

Nancy Steineke