Wildfire smoke poses growing health risks, says new report

Climate change is intensifying wildfires, significantly increasing the health risks from smoke inhalation, according to a new study.

Christopher Flavelle reports for The New York Times.


In short:

  • A new study predicts more than 125 million Americans will face unhealthy air pollution by mid-century due to increased wildfire smoke.
  • Wildfire smoke, linked to heart and lung diseases, presents challenges in prediction and protection.
  • Air pollution in the U.S. has worsened since 2016, primarily due to climate change-enhanced wildfires and rising ozone levels.

Key quote:

"With wildfire smoke in particular, we are not going to adapt our way out of the problem."

­— Brian G. Henning, director of the Institute for Climate, Water, and the Environment, Gonzaga University.

Why this matters:

This escalating threat of wildfire smoke is crucial for public health, with implications for long-term health outcomes, particularly for respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. It underscores the urgent need for climate action and improved public health strategies, highlighting a critical aspect of national environmental and health policy.

How do wildfires impact your health?

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