The traditional fireplace uses mostly wood as fuel. This usually poses great risk to health and environment even with all the safety precautions employed. Wood fire is a bit difficult to control and the flying sparks can be fire hazards.
Even with all the advances in technology applicable to all fields of life, wood burning fireplaces still pose the same hazard as it did so many years ago. There are numerous reports about how these types of fireplaces are detrimental to the environment. The smoke produced by burning wood contains additives and when carried to the air becomes one of the many pollutants that destroy the atmosphere. This is further compounded by the cutting down of several trees by loggers, both legal and illegal and yes, to a small intent those that chop trees to make fuel for the fireplace, turning it into a vicious cycle.
Aside from the harm to mother nature, there is also a delayed effect of smoke on the body. The fumes contain substances that may cause lung disease and tumors that results from long term exposure. Children and the elderly and more susceptible as they have weaker immune systems to clear out the harmful effects of indoor air pollution.
When you get a fire burning in a traditional fireplace, you need to douse it before you sleep or leave the house. You also need to watch it most of the times especially when you have children and pets around. The risk of burns is very high in homes with traditional fireplaces even when you have screens and other safety accessories. Another hazard is that when you don't clean your ventilation system, it gets clogged and the only way for the smoke to go is into your house. You find yourself surrounded by smoke that is not only dangerous to your health but also a takes more than an hour to clear even with professional help. The smell of smoke also clings to almost everything so you need to do a major cleaning stint. From washing the curtains as well as the rugs and other fabrics in the room.
But this is no reason to tear down a wonderful looking fireplace. You can keep it and still enjoy it without the danger of the old times. You can convert it into a modern fireplace by placing gas logs or fireplace insert to turn it into a gas fireplace, electric fireplace of gel fireplace depending on your choice. Gel and electrical fireplaces have simulated the sight and sounds of crackling fire so it still looks like the real thing without the fumes and odor or smoke. You also remove the threat to nature by not cutting trees and not emitting air pollutants. This also reduces your risk for lung diseases. Most importantly you don't get to do a lot of work just to enjoy an hour or two of cozy warmth. All the work is done by pushing a button of the remote or a turn of the dial.