A: MG, I have also heard quite a bit of banter back and forth about newspaper and how it is not good to use to start fireplace fires. Most of the nay-sayers point to the fact that the ink can cause sticky properties to chimney soot that helps to cause premature buildup of soot and creosote in the fireplace or wood burner chimney. They also say the plastic coatings on the slick pages can cause some toxins to enter your house when burned. It is a strong possibility that these folks are on to something. But they might also be full of hot air.
Honestly, I have not researched the studies done on this topic, but I do not burn newspaper in my fireplace. In my garage I have two recycle boxes for paper. One has newspaper and the other has paper shopping bags and brown cardboard. I simply take my starter paper from the grocery bag and cardboard box. I figure I will just take the high road on this one since it is not a big change. – Jason