"MONTPELIER, Vt. -- When oil prices climbed, more people turned to wood to heat their homes, many using outdoor wood furnaces that to some are air-polluting nuisances.
From Vermont to Connecticut to Indiana, some neighbors have complained about smoke from these furnaces drifting into their yards and homes, in some cases triggering asthma attacks and lung problems. Several Vermont homeowners said the smoke has even set off smoke alarms in their own homes; at least two of those affected said they have had to move.
'Wood smoke is not benign but people think it is,' said Philip Etter, environmental analyst with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. 'They sort of grew up with it—because it smells nice in sort of a nostalgic sense—and they think it's fine, but it's not.'
Residential wood smoke is toxic, with carcinogens and fine particulates that can get deep into lungs and cause lung and cardiovascular problems, he said."