SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Bay Area air quality officials are urging residents to refrain from tossing a log into the fireplace this holiday weekend.

Although they have not issued a Winter Spare the Air Alert, Bay Area Air Quality Management District spokesperson Kristine Roselius said the cold weather could cause unhealthy breathing conditions.

“We do have very cold, still air out there,” she said. “The pollution in the air is already starting to build. Wood smoke is a serious health threat for everyone, but especially for children, the elderly and those with respiratory conditions.”

KCBS’ Tim Ryan Reports:

Wood smoke is the largest source of wintertime air pollution in the Bay Area and contains harmful pollutants, such as hazardous soot and carbon monoxide, as well as toxins such as dioxin, which is linked to increased cancer rates in adults.

Some residents in the South Bay said they were more than willing to go along with the request.

“I think it’s great that we make an effort to voluntarily help the environment,” said one San Jose resident. “That’s where real progress comes from.”

Roselius said that about one-third of the harmful soot in the air during the winter months in the Bay Area comes from wood-burning fireplaces and stoves.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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