Wood Burning Stoves, Air Pollution, and Asthma: How You Can Make a Difference

Wood stove by Daniel Morrison, on Flickr

Wood stove by Daniel Morrison, on Flickr Autumn’s cooler temperatures have arrived and many Dane County residents will be preparing to keep the home fires burning in a wood stove. While burning wood for home heat can be cozy and warm, wood smoke from old stoves and fireplace inserts pollutes the air. This polluted air makes it especially tough to breathe for kids, adults and older people living with asthma.

Wood smoke contains carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and fine particle pollutants that aren’t healthy to breathe either indoors or outside.  Smoke from old wood stoves and old fireplace inserts can affect your family, as well as neighbors downwind of the smoke, polluting the air we all breathe and making asthma symptoms worse.

The Dane County Wood Stove Changeout Rebate Program is helping Dane County residents reduce the amount of harmful emissions from older, non-certified wood stoves and improve air quality at home and throughout Dane County.

Program Details: From August 1 through September 30, 2011, Dane County residents interested in replacing their old wood stoves or inserts may be eligible to receive a $750.00 rebate, as well as various manufacturer and retailer discounts and a federal tax credit, on the purchase price of qualifying cleaner burning EPA-certified wood stoves and inserts, natural gas stoves and inserts, or pellet stoves and inserts.  Applications for rebate vouchers will be accepted starting on August 1, 2011 via email to the Dane County Clean Air Coalition Coordinator, Lisa MacKinnon, at: MacKinnon@countyofdane.com or fax: 608-266-2643.  Rebate funds are limited and will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible customers.

To learn more about this program, go to http://www.healthyairdane.org/woodstove.aspx

The Dane County Clean Air Coalition is made up of business, schools including UW-Madison, government agencies and citizens whose goal is healthy air.

Photo credit: Daniel Morrison

The Great Flavored Milk Debate

Glass of Milk

Glass of MilkMilk is an excellent source of beneficial nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, and potassium.  In children and adolescents, moderate milk intake has been linked to improved bone health.  It has been shown that children and adolescents are not drinking enough milk.  According to the Dietary Guideline for Americans 2010, children and adolescents ages 9-18 years should consume 3 cups/day, ages 4-8 should consume 2 ½ cups/day, and ages 2-3 should consume 2 cups/day of milk or milk products.  Currently, the majority of milk consumed is reduced-fat (2%) or full-fat milk (whole).

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Why Do I Walk?

Why do I walk for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation team, “UW Health and Henry’s Heroes?”

Personally, I walk for my son, Henry, diagnosed at age 5. I walk for my brother, diagnosed at age 24. I walk in memory of my paternal grandfather, diagnosed after serving in World War II, at age 26.

But let me tell you why it is important for me to walk under the umbrella of UW Health.

I am a physician assistant at the UW Carbone Cancer Center. I care for ladies that have type 1 diabetes and see how that diagnosis can complicate their care.

And so I walk.

I walk as a thank you to all the exceptional individuals on Henry’s Care Team. During his time at American Family Children’s Hospital, we met terrific endocrinology staff physicians, residents and fellows, RNs, Child Life Center staff, Learning Center RNs, Phlebotomists, Chaplin, and Housekeeping. All demonstrated service excellence and the high standard of comprehensive care at UW Health.

And so I walk.

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Modern Day Treasure Hunt Puts an End to “Are We There Yet?”



I have fond memories of the summer vacations I took with my family. Six kids packed in a station wagon headed to Door County, Wisconsin. The four-hour trip took forever and the only stops we made were at waysides along the highway.

Now I’m making the same trek with my husband and two sons. Only we are in a spacious minivan and thanks to geocaching.com, anywhere we stop along our drive becomes a treasure hunt.

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When the Reality of Safety Helmets Hits Home

Dr. Faucher
Dr. Lee Faucher and Connor

Dr. Faucher and Connor

Wearing a bike helmet is second nature to my kids. So much so that they often just leave them on to shoot baskets or play around the house. That’s probably not typical of most kids, but I’m a trauma surgeon and my wife is a nurse practitioner, so NOT wearing a safety helmet has NEVER been an option.

Last Spring, that “second nature” may have saved my son Connor from serious injury. Connor, who was 6 at the time, was riding bike with his older sister when she heard a crash behind her. (She told us the noise was “terrifying” to her.) When she stopped and turned around, she saw Connor on his back with blood all over his face. When she ran back to him, he didn’t respond at all. So she ran a block back to our house, to tell my wife.

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