Asthma and Coal Heating
From NEPA Crossroads Knowledge Base
Note this is not meant to be medical advice and with the exception of the medical study linked too is not based on scientific data.
The subject frequently comes up about asthma and coal and at face value you would think it would bad for this condition but from NEPA Crossroads member experiences that may not be the case. Some have even reported a improvement in the condition as crazy as that may seem, others have suggested it being neutral and others have reported issues.
Asthma according to reports in the media has increased significantly over the last few decades. One has to think what has changed within those last few decades to cause this? One thing that has significantly changed is the way homes are built and renovated. Insulation and new windows have made them much more energy efficient trapping heat inside the home much better than 30 years ago. This would also trap other things such as mold and mildew which has been linked to asthma.
Getting back to our topic at hand a coal heating appliance is usually placed in the basement where mold and mildew are more likely to occur because of the usually humid environment. This type of heat which is constantly on will keep moisture to a minimum and provide other benefits to make it an inhospitable environment for the growth of mold.
Coincidentally a real medical study published was conducted in Bavaria that supports the conclusions of many of the members here. In the study they had a rural area where a very large part of the population used wood and coal heat. Certainly not conclusive as there are other factors however the results were quite suprising:
This study shows that in a rural population children of families using wood or coal for heating and cooking had a significant lower prevalence of hay fever, atopy, and bronchial hyperresponsiveness than children living in homes with other heating systems