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Families with woodstoves, young children asked to help out with air quality study

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This study will test different exposure reduction strategies in households that use wood stoves for home heating and evaluate the impact on respiratory function. (MTN News photo) This study will test different exposure reduction strategies in households that use wood stoves for home heating and evaluate the impact on respiratory function. (MTN News photo)
Study Coordinator Emily Weiler (right) says they are searching for lower respiratory-tract infections. (MTN News photo) Study Coordinator Emily Weiler (right) says they are searching for lower respiratory-tract infections. (MTN News photo)
MISSOULA -

If you live within a 90-mile radius of Missoula in a home that uses a woodstove as a primary heating source, and have one or more children under five, you are eligible to participate in an academic study with the University of Montana.

UM is just a few weeks away from beginning their second KidsAIR Study. 

"Basically, we're going into homes and we're trying to improve indoor air quality and to reduce respiratory problems in little kids," Study Coordinator Emily Weiler said. 

Studies have shown that good lung function in childhood is important for long-term health, and exposure to wood smoke is known to adversely impact lung function. This study will test different exposure reduction strategies in households that use wood stoves for home heating and evaluate the impact on respiratory function. 

Weiler says it takes a minimal time commitment. 

"I do what we call a health visit. So, I listen to lung sounds, I take a heart-rate, I take their temperature, that kind of thing," Weiler said. "It's very non-invasive. The visits take usually ten to fifteen minutes is all." 

Weiler says they are searching for lower respiratory-tract infections. Participating families will not be asked to change out their woodstove. Instead, the focus will be on improving indoor air-quality through education and equipment provided. 

"We will give them either a filtration unit or new education on burning that will hopefully improve the indoor air quality, and of course they get to keep that filter and any of the other tools we give them at the end of the study."

By the end of October, Weiler hopes to add about 15 more families to the study. She says families that participate will receive up to $200 in compensation. 

For more information on how your family can participate you can call 406-243-4055, or send an email to kidsair@umontana.edu.

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