November 29, 2018
Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences Richard Peltier writes an essay in The Conversation about how wildfire smoke is really a national health threat. He says smoke plumes travel long distances and contain not just wood smoke, but also plastics, petroleum, chemicals and metals from the houses and cars that are burned. The health effects, especially for people with breathing disorders, can also be long lasting, he says.
“Many factors appear to be increasing the number and scale of wildfires, including development patterns and forest management practices,” he writes. “But the biggest driver is likely to be climate change, which is making ecosystems hotter and drier. This suggests that all Americans, wherever they live, will need to become more aware of wildfires and their long-range health effects.”