Is Smoke Dangerous?
Exposure to forest fire smoke has been associated with increased respiratory symptoms (Aditama, 2000; Kunzli et al., 2006), increased COPD and asthma-related emergency room visits (Duclos et al., 1990), increased physician visits (Moore et al., 2006), and increased medication use (Kunzli et al., 2006
Air pollutants such as sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and suspended particular matter (SPM) are known to CAUSE damage to health. These substances can CAUSE bronchitis, bronchial asthma, COPD and other respiratory diseases. (in Akira et al., 2004, Tropical Medicine and Health, 32 (4), 329-333)
Animal toxicology studies show that wood smoke exposure can disrupt cellular membranes, depress macrophage activity, destroy ciliated and secretory respiratory epithelial cells and cause aberrations in biochemical enzyme levels." (3) A Summary Of Emissions Characterization And Noncancer Respiratory Effects Of Wood Smoke, Timothy V. Larson and Jane Q. Koenig, U.S.EPA-453/R-93-036, Dec. 1993)
Fine particles easily bypass the natural filters in the nose and throat, penetrate deep into the lungs, and carry toxins further into the bloodstream.
The lungs are a pair of spongy, air-filled organs located on either side of the chest (thorax). The trachea (windpipe) conducts inhaled air into the lungs through its tubular branches, called bronchi. The bronchi then divide into smaller and smaller branches (bronchioles), finally becoming microscopic.
Studies show that reduced resistance to disease is linked, among other things, to wood smoke exposure. Smoke produced by wood combustion harms the cellular membrane, slows down immune system activity, damages the inflammatory cells that protect and clean the respiratory tract, and also disrupts enzyme levels. (Lung Assn. Quebec).
Smoke is a mixture of particles and gaseous chemicals of varying physical and chemical properties. When inhaled these produce the characteristic features of smoke-inhalational injury. Although heat is produced in fires it is the chemical agents which cause the damage to the airways and the lungs. Mortality and morbidity are closely related to pulmonary injury and thus to the particulate and chemical nature of smoke. Moreover, there seems to be a potentiating effect, in that the particles worsen the toxicity of the chemicals present.- I.R. Hill 1996. Department of Forensic Medicine, Guy's Hospital, London, UK
Enlarged wood smoke particle taken from a human lung:
Original picture size 3 7/8 " by 3 3/8" at 900x enlargement.
Chest p.1232. Interstitial Lung Disease and Domestic Wood Burning, Ramage, Roggli, Bell and Piantadosi.
The wood smoke particle swells up inside the body.
It swells up inside the 99% humidity of the lung.
Growth is between 70% and 92%.
Higher loads of the combustion toxics are deposited directly into the lung.
Comparison of particle sizes:
Substance Micro-meters (microns) Inch
90% of Wood smoke
smaller than 1 micron 0.00004
Bacteria (average) 2 0.00008
Red Blood Cell 8 0.0003
Talcum Powder 10 0.0004
White Blood Cell 25 0.001
Human Hair 70 0.003
Grain of Table Salt 100 0.004
The American Lung Association says:
More than 90% of the woodsmoke particle mass consists of fine particles, the fraction of pm that many researchers consider to have the greatest association with adverse health outcomes. in addition to fine pm, woodsmoke emissions contain components such as carbon monoxide (an asphyxiant), various irritant gases such as nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrochloric acid, and aldehydes such as formaldehyde and acrolein, and chemicals known or suspected to be carcinogens, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (pahs), oxygenated pahs, and polychlorinated dioxins and furans.
Findings from animal toxicological studies demonstrate a reduction in pulmonary anti-bacterial defense mechanisms associated with woodsmoke exposure. woodsmoke exposure can disrupt cellular membranes, depress macrophage activity, destroy ciliated and secretory epithelial cells and cause aberrations in biochemical enzyme levels.
A large body of evidence links PM with adverse health outcomes, including excess cardiopulmonary illness.
Epidemiological studies show a coherence of data among studies of health consequences for those exposed to woodsmoke. persons at higher risk include young children, the elderly, and people with preexisting cardiopulmonary disease. demonstrated effects include increased pulmonary symptoms, increased hospital admissions for lower respiratory infections, exacerbation of asthma, and decreased pulmonary function in school-age children.
There are many different types of aldehydes, many of which are poisonous or can irritate our eyes, nose and lungs, or are just plain smelly. Two such aldehydes are acrolein and formaldehyde. They may be in the air as gases, or mixed with particulate material.
Acrolein irritates our eyes, nose and our lungs, and is a special problem for some people who have asthma or bronchitis. It is often a product of burning wood but acrolein can also be made when fat burns, as happens on a charcoal barbecue when fat from the chops and sausages drips on to the hot beads.
Formaldehyde also irritates our eyes, nose and lungs and may cause cancer in some people. It comes from burning materials containing carbon but is also commonly used to make some types of special glues for making boats and in making particle boards for floors and walls. Therefore, it may be found in the air near factories that make such products. It is also used for making several types of plastics, such as "Bakelite" and laminates that are used on kitchen tables and benches. Formaldehyde can also come from gas stoves, or kerosene/oil/gas space heaters which do not have flues going outside the house. In many cases, formaldehyde concentrations may be much higher inside a house than outside. Some people can become very sensitive to formaldehyde so that very tiny amounts can make them sick.
Size distributions of particles generated from forest fire (vegetation burning).
Chart courtesy of the Australian Government/ Department of the Environment and Heritage
Bad Air Means Bad News for Seniors' Brainpower
Living in areas of high air pollution can lead to decreased cognitive function in older adults, according to new research presented in San Diego at The
Gerontological Society of America's (GSA) 65th Annual Scientific Meeting.
This finding is based on data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Health and Retirement Study. The analysis was conducted by
Jennifer Ailshire, PhD, a National Institute on Aging postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Biodemography and Population Health and the Andrus Gerontology
Center at the University of Southern California.
"As a result of age-related declines in health and functioning, older adults are particularly vulnerable to the hazards of exposure to unhealthy air," Ailshire
said. "Air pollution has been linked to increased cardiovascular and respiratory problems, and even premature death, in older populations, and there is
emerging evidence that exposure to particulate air pollution may have adverse effects on brain health and unctioning as well."
This is the first study to show how exposure to air pollution influences cognitive function in a national sample of older men and women. It suggests that fine
air particulate matter -- composed of particles that are 2.5 micrometers in diameter and smaller, thought to be sufficiently small that if inhaled they can
deposit deep in the lung and possibly the brain -- may be an important environmental risk factor for reduced cognitive function.
The study sample included 14,793 white, black, and Hispanic men and women aged 50 and older who participated in the 2004 Health and Retirement Study
(a nationally representative survey of older adults). Individual data were linked with data on 2004 annual average levels of fine air particulate matter from the
Environmental Protection Agency's Air Quality System monitors across the country. Cognitive function was measured on a scale of 1 to 35 and consisted
of tests assessing word recall, knowledge, language, and orientation.
Ailshire discovered that those living in areas with high levels of fine air particulate matter scored poorer on the cognitive function tests. The association even
remained after accounting for several factors, including age, race/ethnicity, education, smoking behavior, and respiratory and cardiovascular conditions.
Fine air particulate matter exposures ranged from 4.1 to 20.7 micrograms per cubic meter, and every ten point increase was associated with a 0.36 point
drop in cognitive function score. In comparison, this effect was roughly equal to that of aging three years; among all study subjects, a one-year increase in
age was associated with a drop 0.13 in cognitive function score.Dr. Lilian Calderon-Garciduenas, an environmental toxicology professor at the
University of Montana, has studied children living in highly polluted areas. She found inflammation of the brain, similar to the process involved in
developing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. The children also exhibited cognitive deficits and structural brain abnormalities and had respiratory and
EPA NSW - Air - Health Implications:
"An increasing range of adverse health effects has been linked to air pollution, especially particulate matter.
Short-term exposure exacerbates existing respiratory and cardiovascular symptoms and increases the risk of symptoms, hospitalisation, and death. Long-term exposure increases the risk of chronic respiratory and cardiovascular disease and death, impacts on birth weight, and can permanently affect the lung development of children". http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/air/actionforair/09712ExecutiveSummary.pdf - Page 22.
EPA South Australia:
"Common effects of air pollution include changes in heart and lung functions with increases in associated medical conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, and heart disease. Air pollution also contains compounds which can affect the nervous system and are carcinogenic.
Some research has found that the adverse health effects of air pollution has a real cost to the community through increased hospital admissions and premature deaths".
Smoke is toxic
What it does to our health
Potential cancer sticks.
Think of others before you strike!
STOP PRESS - October 17, 2013
World Health Organisation (WHO) - latest findings.
Air pollution CAUSES cancer
And if you think this isn't enough go here to the WHO Air Pollution Health Topic pages
If it was natural for human beings and other forms of life to breathe wood smoke we would all be born with hospital-grade filters attached to our air intakes." - Clive Stott 2013
Scroll down for further information..........
May 2010 - I received the following disturbing email...
The smoke in the Tamar valley, today is terrible. Yesterday it was bad enough, I had runny eyes etc, today I am having to constantly use my ventolin just to be able to take a breathe without coughing.
Do you have any suggestions as to who I can complain to? I looked up the complaints form for the FPA and they want details as to where the smoke is coming from and I don't know.
There is a large pool of smoke coming up from the South West and there has been a lot of smoke coming up from the North/ North East over the last two days (blotting out Mt Arthur, particularly late in the afternoon, from my place in XXXX). The hills are just white.
Here's hoping you have some suggestions for me.....,
I replied and here was an even more disturbing response from this distressed person...
...when I came home again it had cleared considerably. But the way things are going with forestry, I think I will have many more chances to report to them when my health is affected. I don't go to the doctor very often as it costs me almost $30 a time to go and see him after medicare rebate (I'm an aged pensioner)
Carcinogenic substances - some of the carcinogenic substances identified in wood smoke include aldehydes and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and dioxins.
The following information is published on the EPA Tasmania - Air website:
Harmful Substances in Woodsmoke
Types of Air Pollutants What is Concentration? Carbon Dioxide Carbon Monoxide Nitrogen Oxides Particulate Matter Volatile Organic Compounds Aldehydes Benzene, Toluene and Xylenes BTX Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons
If wood is burned properly, the only products that will be formed are a gas called carbon dioxide, some water which comes off as steam and a small amount of ash, which cannot burn. However, often the wood does not burn completely and it can make a lot of smoke with hundreds of different chemicals, called "products of incomplete combustion".
Types of Air Pollutants
We can put these many different chemicals into groups of similarity called classes. Scientists know that some of these chemicals can cause problems for people, like causing disease in their lungs or heart, or making their illness worse if they are already sick. However, there are a number of chemicals Scientists still hardly know anything about their affect on human health and research is being done to try and find out. Some of the chemicals are gases, some are liquids and others are solids. When there is more of a chemical mixed into the air than is good for us, we call it a pollutant.
Chemicals from Wood Burning:
Some types of chemicals that come from burning wood are:
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
Carbon dioxide is a gas that we cannot see or smell. It is given off whenever anything that contains carbon in its chemical structure is burned completely, along with water. It is not dangerous to us in open air but it can asphyxiate us if there is too much of it in a small space. In other words, it prevents us from getting enough oxygen from the air to keep us alive. It is also what we call a greenhouse gas, which may be causing the earth to warm up.
Carbon dioxide stays in the air for a century, some of it into the thousands of years. And the world carbon dioxide pollution levels are accelerating yearly. Every second, the world's smokestacks and cars pump 2.4 million pounds of the heat-trapping gas into the air. -James Buttler, Director of global monitoring at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder,Colo.
Carbon Monoxide (CO)
Carbon monoxide is a gas that we cannot see, smell or taste. At very high concentrations, it is very poisonous, because it makes it very difficult for our blood to take oxygen from our lungs around to all the different parts of our bodies. However, luckily it is very unusual to get much carbon monoxide in the outside air, except where there are many cars and trucks on busy roads, especially if they are stuck in a traffic jam. Even then, people need to be exposed for some time at the kinds of levels found in city streets, because it takes time for carbon monoxide to build up in our bloodstream. So At lower concentrations in air, carbon monoxide can affect people with heart disease, because it makes their heart work harder to transport oxygen around their bodies. It has an Air Quality Standard of 9 ppm over 8 hours
Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)
Nitrogen oxides can be made by fire, either because the fuels used contain chemicals with nitrogen in them, or because the fire is so hot that a small amount of nitrogen from the air combines with oxygen to form them. For example, a gas flame will often make nitrogen oxides because it is very hot. Nitrogen oxides are also made by burning fuels like petrol and diesel in the engines of cars and trucks. There are two main types made by burning: nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), although there are some others that may be made in smaller amounts. Nitrogen dioxide may also come from some industrial factories that make a powerful acid called nitric acid, factories that galvanise steel (coat it with zinc) and others that make glass or power stations that generate electricity.
Nitrogen dioxide has more effects on our health than nitric oxide. It can irritate our lungs and cause bronchitis and other lung diseases. Over a long time, it can cause scarring of the very delicate air spaces in our lungs and reduce the amount of oxygen that they can absorb into the blood. Because of its health effects, there is an air quality standard of 0.16 ppm for an hour.
Webmaster's comment: The lifetime of PM 10 is from minutes to hours and its travel distance varies from less than a kilometer to 100 kilometers (NRDC, 1996).
The lifetime of PM 2.5 is from days to weeks and their travel distance ranges from 100 to greater than 1000 kilometres (NRDC, 2000)
Smoke has a PM2.5 signature
When we speak of air pollution, particles are simply small materials that can be suspended or will float in the air. Particles can be quite large (PM10's) like sand blown from the desert on this site's home page, or may be too small for us to see without a microscope. A large collection of particles is called particulate material or sometimes just particulates.
Most of the particles that we find in our cities are small and very complicated mixtures of many different things. They include:
Dust blown by the wind from soil, or stockpiles of building materials, or industrial raw materials and products, or sometime just from the trucks that drive over dusty roads;
Smoke from burning wood, oil, waste materials, or even gas; Pollen grains, bacteria, fungal spores, dust from wheat, barley and other cereals, tiny pieces of skin from animals;
Dusts and fumes from chemical processes, welding, painting, gritblast cleaning and other industrial processes.
Fog, mist and "smog", which are really tiny droplets of liquid and sometimes solid particles, formed by natural processes in the atmosphere - sometimes called aerosols.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs):
This is a very large group of chemicals that contains many hundreds of chemicals of many different classes. However, they are all chemicals that contain carbon. The word Volatile in their name simply means that they evaporate easily, like water does when it dries in the sun. Some may contain carbon and hydrogen only. Others may have carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, while some may also have other elements like sulphur or nitrogen in their molecules. Because there are so many different types, the effects of every one of them on our health may be different and are not always understood. Also, many of these chemicals help form a type of pollution called photochemical smog, in which ozone is formed, and is found in some large cities, such as Sydney and Melbourne. We do not believe that this type of smog pollution is a problem in Tasmania.
Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH)
Polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons are a group of chemicals that are usually formed when materials containing carbon are burned very badly. We find them in black smoke, soot and tar from burning coal, wood, heavy oil, and other things like plastic, if there has not been enough air to burn them properly. They can also be formed when we burn our toast at breakfast. They are quite complicated chemicals that do not evaporate easily, so they are often found sticking to particles of carbon. If the particles are small enough, they will get right down into the deepest parts of the lungs and may cause disease, including cancer. We have known for a long time that one of them, called benzo(a)pyrene, can cause cancer. In the old days, chimneysweeps sometimes developed cancer due to benzo(a)pyrene in the soot that covered them every day as they worked. Benzo(a)pyrene is also included in the new Air Toxics NEPM.
Benzene, Toluene and Xylenes (BTX)
Benzene, toluene and xylenes are chemicals that are also called aromatic compounds, because they have a strong smell. They are often found in car exhaust gases, from cars or trucks burning petrol or diesel fuels but may also be made when other carbon-containing materials like wood or oil are not burned properly. They all cause irritation to our eyes and nose and sometimes our lungs. At the levels usually found in ambient air, they are also known to have long-term effects on people's nervous systems. BTX are included in the new Air Toxic NEPM made in 2004. (See the Environment Protection and Heritage Council web site for details: National Environment Protection Measure on Air Toxics
Benzene is probably the worst of them, because it is very poisonous, affecting people's livers and nervous systems. It probably also causes cancer. For these reasons, it has been removed from petrol, so it is much less of a problem than it was a few years ago. However, it is still made in car engines and comes out in the exhaust gases.
Toluene is not so poisonous as benzene, but is still a pollutant that comes from car exhausts. It is also found in smoke from fires and some other processes.
Xylenes (there are three of them) are often found in special paint thinners and brush-cleaning solvents or paint strippers. They are also made in car engines and wood fires. They are very irritating to our eyes, nose and lungs.
What is Concentration?
Concentration is the word we use to describe how much of a pollutant is mixed with the air. There are two main ways, called "units", that we use to describe concentration.
For particles, we use "micrograms per cubic metre", written as "1 µg/ m3". If you read further down, you will see a description of particles, or particulate matter.
If you imagine a large cardboard box that is one metre high, one metre wide and one metre deep, it will contain one cubic metre of air. It is written as "m3". This is called the "volume" of air. One microgram is one millionth of a gram. This is very tiny amount, but still large enough for us to measure. We shorten this to "1 µg", where the Greek letter "µ" means "millionths of", and "g" means "gram". So a concentration of one microgram of smoke per cubic metre means that there is one millionth of a gram of smoke in each cubic metre of air, and we write it as "1 µg/ m3".
For gases, we use another unit, called "parts-per-million", written as "ppm". This is a little harder to explain. There are several gases described lower down on this page. For example, carbon monoxide is a gas that often occurs in air.
Imagine the same large cardboard box that you did before, containing a volume of one cubic metre of air. If we take a tiny box that has a volume of one cubic centimetre of carbon monoxide and add it to the air in our box, we make a concentration of 1 part-per-million of carbon monoxide in air, which is shortened to "1 ppm".
"Particulate pollution is the most important contaminant in our air. ...we know that when particle levels go up, people die." (Joel Schwartz, Ph.D., Harvard School of Public Health, E Magazine, Sept./Oct. 2002).
"For particles and ozone, it is possible to derive a quantitative relationship between the concentration of the pollutant as monitored in ambient air and specific health outcomes (usually mortality)." (Australian NEPM Review Discussion Paper 2010).
“There is no safe level of exposure to particle pollution. Over many years, exposure has similar long-term consequences to environmental tobacco smoke, including the risk of lung cancer and heart disease.” (Dr James Markos, Respiratory Physician and Chairman of the Tasmanian Branch of The Australian Lung Foundation).
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has determined that any length of casual exposure to particle pollution poses serious health risks, such as early death, cancer and cardiovascular and respiratory harm (American Lung Association).
Particle pollution also has an adverse effect on all other life forms including plants.
Lung cancer and wood smoke exposure connection (Delgado J, Martinez LM, Sánchez TT, Ramirez A, Iturria C, González-Avila G).
A study by the University of Washington in Seattle showed that 50 to 70 percent of the outdoor levels of wood smoke were entering homes that were not burning wood.
Particulate matter is one of the most significant emissions from forest fires. Ninety percent of particulate matter in biomass smoke is PM10, meaning that it is 10 micrometers or smaller in diameter (EPA 1998; Ottmar 2001).
Wood Smoke is greater than 90% Fine Particulate Matter, ie, PM 2.5 or less. (American Lung Association).
"The majority of particles emitted from biomass burning, which includes controlled burning and uncontrolled fires, are ultrafine, with only a small fraction in the larger size range, and with most of the mass present in particles less than 2.5 um in aerodynamic diameter (WHO, 1999)."
Air quality. Carbon particles in the air from the burning of fossil fuels, wood, and other materials scatter and absorb UVB rays, diminishing vitamin D production.
'Twice as many women with breast cancer had high PAH [Polycyclic_aromatic_hydrocarbon, (a by-product of wood smoke) levels in their BREAST TUMORS compared with tissue of women without breast cancer.'
The inhalation of particulate matter CAUSES asthma, upper and lower respiratory tract infections, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and Ischemic Cardiomyopathy (Dost 1991; Eeden 2001; Health Research Working Group 2001; Larson and Koenig 1994).
COPD is a progressive, life-threatening disease associated with tobacco smoking, air pollution or occupational exposure. (Novartis)
Health effects from particulate matter occur after exposures of 2-4 hours or less in duration of woodsmoke at the 12 - 29mcg/m3 range (Koenig et al. 1993)
"I saw very strong and significant associations between tonsillitis, frequent cough, pseudo-croup, exercise induced wheeze, food allergies and woodsmoke exposure in our school children. I think that Wood smoke is one of the most harmful air pollutants we have on earth." (Gerd Oberfeld, M.D., Epidemiologist, Public health office - Unit for Environmental Health, Salzburg, Austria. International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood,(ISAAC) Salzburg 1997.)
Fine particle concentrations are linked to adverse health impacts ( Dockery et al 1993, Pope et al 2002)
Even if you are healthy you can still be negatively affected by wood smoke causing you to feel lethargic and generally unwell
- WA Department of Environment and Conservation
"Air pollution in general is increasingly recognized as a systemic health threat, impairing the functioning of virtually every organ system." - Read what the Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment (UPHE) have to say.
This is what the Australian government has to say:
"...certain sensitive groups can experience more severe short-term and chronic effects. It appears that the same population groups that are susceptible to particles in cities are also susceptible to particles from biomass burning. These groups are: people with asthma and other respiratory disease, people with cardiovascular disease, children and the elderly. Pregnant women and unborn children are potentially susceptible, given that smoke from biomass burning contains many of the same compounds found in cigarette smoke.
The American Thoracic Society found, "... with an increase of 10 micrograms per cubic meter of particles over two years, the risk of dying was increased by 32% for people with diabetes, 28% for people with COPD, asthma and pneumonia, 27% for people with congestive heart failure and 22% for people with inflammatory diseases.- Center for Disease Control: A Review of Factors Affecting the Human Health Impacts of Air Pollutants From Forest Fires. Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects National Center for Environmental Health. www.forestencyclopedia.net/p/p819
This commercial explains in 30 sec. why heating your home with wood is one of the worst things you can do for your own health.
From Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment Click on the image above.
Come on over for a smoke!
Hilary Burden writes for the Mercury. Mercury photo.
Click on the picture above to read her story.
If people want to deliberately self-harm then that is their business, but letting their smoke extend beyond their boundary is everyone's business.
With all our point sources of smoke, Tasmania is a designated smoking area!
Diesel exhaust is 100 times more toxic than gasoline exhaust
But where are the victims?
No post-mortem states air pollution to be a primary cause of death, and few people take a day off work because of it. Yet we now know that PM2.5s, which get deep into the lungs and bloodstream from exhaust fumes, can greatly worsen respiratory and heart conditions, trigger heart attacks and lead to brain damage, cancers, even nerve, liver and kidney diseases.
“For everyone who dies, there are many more hospitalised or who have impaired health.” “Prolonged exposure to elevated [particulate pollution levels] is associated with significant life-shortening and poor respiratory health.
Acute episodes can precipitate death.” - Ian Mudway, King's College, London.
Selling bottled air to polluted cities
More bottled air being sold here and here.
Pure Air Tasmania -Two medical doctors sell 1 litre of bottled air for A$59.00!
Surely though, this tells us the burning authorities in the polluted countries are the ones at fault?
And how stupid is this when we know what we do? People being paid to inhale smoke.
I trust they are going to do a long term health study on the participants!
And trust they declare any pecuniary interests.
PM 2.5 can cause blood vessel inflammation and damage:
New research establishes how air pollution causes damage and inflammation to blood vessels not just in already susceptible people but also in young, healthy adults.
Scientists from the Brigham Young University in the United States studied the effect of PM 2.5 on 72 healthy, non-smoking, adults whose average age was 23. PM 2.5 is particulate matter 2.5 microns in size - a common, critical and dangerous pollutant that is found in emissions form motor vehicles, factories, power plants fires and even tobacco smoke. They showed that periodic exposure to PM2.5 was associated with abnormal changes that trigger cardiovascular disease.
People exposed to higher levels of pollution had micro-particles in their blood indicating high levels of cell injury and cell death. They also had elevated levels of proteins that inhibit blood vessel growth as well as higher levels of proteins that indicated inflammation of blood vessels.
The study, the researchers said, substantially expands the understanding of how pollution causes cardiovascular disease and that particulate matter actually triggers a cascade of negative health effects. This cascade could manifest as high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke among younger people than those in which these diseases occurred previously.
The findings were published in the journal Circulation Research.
COPD vs. Emphysema: What's the Difference?
Symptoms tend to worsen over time, especially if exposure to smoke is not eliminated.
"To evaluate lung toxicity....in terms of the mass of fuel consumed smoldering eucalyptus demonstrated the greatest lung toxicity of all the fuels tested.
...smoke from flaming eucalyptus and peat was the most toxic to the lungs."
What is PM2.5 and why should you care
Cleanairtas does not agree with the US coloured Standard table... and read below for Canada.
We know that there is no safe level of particulate pollution!
"Short-term exposure exacerbates existing respiratory and cardiovascular symptoms and increases the risk of symptoms, hospitalisation, and death. Long-term exposure increases the risk of chronic respiratory and cardiovascular disease and death, impacts on birth weight, and can permanently affect the lung development of children" - Environment NSW page 22.
Oregon: this is a DFPA photo taken during the Tiller Tail highway fire on 11 May 2019
Here are these firefighters out in this smoke and not wearing masks.
You need to be clean-shaven to get a good face-fit to stop smoke sucking in when you wear a face mask.
Who is training or supervising these guys?!!
"In healthy people, inhaling ozone or particle pollution triggers a defensive lung-heart reflex (pulmonary-cardiac reflex) that automatically slows heart rate to accommodate oxygen deficiency and help slow distribution of pollutants throughout the body. Yet, when patients with cardiovascular diseases breathe pollutants that same protective mechanism does not kick in. Instead, their heart rates intermittently speed up, known as tachycardia, and can evoke a potentially deadly irregular heart rhythm, known as premature ventricular contractions."
Pollution Laws Will Affect Nation's Health
"...the agency's own risk analysis found that additional pollution under the new plan would result in up to 1,400 more premature deaths a year in the United States as of 2030. By the same year, the Clean Power Plan would have avoided 3,600 premature deaths due to pollution from coal-fired power plants."
"Regarding the lung, it has been reported that repeated exposure to PM2.5 accelerated the decline of lung function, caused irreversible airway wall remodelling and increased the exacerbation rate in asthma patients. Even in the healthy lung, PM2.5 increased oxidative stress and the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and growth factors, which had been associated with asthma, COPD and fibrosis." Click on the above chart to read the full article.
Learn more about cancer prevention for firefighters. Click on the above photo
Our findings highlight the potential for important public health gains from interventions to reduce ambient pollution from biomass smoke.
Decreased air pollution from ambient biomass smoke was associated with reduced annual mortality in males and with reduced cardiovascular and respiratory mortality during winter months.
Air pollution, especially ozone, tied to worsening lung damage
Researchers already knew that heavy air pollution makes lung disease worse in people who already have lung disease. The new study shows that even among people without lung disease, long-term exposure to air pollution even in relatively “clean” areas can lead to signs of chronic lung disease, said Dr Joel Kaufman, a co-author of the study and an environmental health researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle.
New England Journal of Medicine
Our data show independent associations between short-term exposure to PM10 and PM2.5 and daily all-cause, cardiovascular, and respiratory mortality in more than 600 cities across the globe includomg almost 60 million deaths in 24 countries.
“The pooled concentration-response curves showed a consistent increase in daily mortality with increasing PM concentration, with steeper slopes at lower PM concentrations.”
Soot Particles Showing Up in Placentas, Next to the Fetus
A group of scientists in Belgium has found that when pregnant women inhale black carbon pollution, the particles can travel from their lungs to the placenta, where they accumulate on the side facing the growing baby.
Air pollution tied to hospitalizations for a wide range of illnesses
Short-term exposure to fine particulate matter was associated with an increased risk of several common causes of hospital admissions including sepsis or septicemia, a life-threatening reaction to a bacterial infection in the bloodstream; fluid and electrolyte disorders; kidney failure; and intestinal obstructions. These diseases have rarely been studied in the context of PM 2.5 and hospitalizations, the study team writes
The Coal Hard Truth About Air Pollution.
A Greenpeace graphic -Click on the picture
Bushfire royal commission hears that Black Summer smoke killed nearly 450 people.
Associate Professor Fay Johnston, from the Menzies Institute for Medical Research at the University of Tasmania, said her team estimated around 445 people died as a result of the smoke, over 3,000 people were admitted to hospital for respiratory problems and 1,700 people presented for asthma.
Australian bushfire inquiry examines the terrible impact of smoke inhalation
Initial presentations focused on climate change, as well as the wildlife and health impact of the fires. The commission will continue this week with the final report due in August 2020, the beginning of the next bushfire season.
The Benefits of Omega-3s Include Protecting Your Brain From Air Pollution
Omega-3s can help protect your brain from the toxic effects of air pollution.
Omega-3s are an important part of a healthy diet, and the nutrient can be found in fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, oysters, sardines, and anchovies.
As smoke from forest fires ages in the atmosphere its toxicity increases
Chemistry professor Marcelo Guzman at the University of Kentucky leads a National Science Foundation research project, which is studying how emissions from biomass burning, including wildfires, change with time in the atmosphere to create new chemicals that impact the health of societies and the climate of Earth. Guzman, together with graduate student Sohel Rana, carefully studied in the laboratory the heterogeneous atmospheric chemistry of methoxyphenols, which are among the most abundant molecules emitted during biomass burning. The team highlighted that when methoxyphenols react at interfaces, i.e. such as on the surface of cloud and fog waters as well as HYPERLINK "https://phys.org/tags/aerosol+particles/" aerosol particles from pollution, electron and proton transfer processes are favored to quickly convert aromatic molecules into highly water-soluble products.
University of Kentucky
October 25, 2020 - Particulates matter: 10 questions for a Stanford researcher on the health hazards of wildfire smoke
As a veteran researcher in the effects of air pollution, Dr. Prunicki answered our questions about day-to-day health amid fire season, whether or not masks actually help and why the smoke can make you more susceptible to viral illnesses.
Oct.19, 2020 - Long-term effects of PM2·5 on neurological disorders in the American Medicare population
“We provide evidence that exposure to annual mean PM2·5 in the USA is significantly associated with an increased hazard of first hospital admission with Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. For the ageing American population, improving air quality to reduce PM2·5 concentrations to less than current national standards could yield substantial health benefits by reducing the burden of neurological disorders.”
High levels of fine PM pollution linked with patterns of brain shrinkage, study finds
Older women who live in locations with higher levels of air pollution may have more brain shrinkage, the kind seen in Alzheimer’s disease, than women who live in locations with lower levels, according to a new study.
‘Only female smokers cause environmental pollution’, man finds in a very private research
He said, "My dear lady, male smokers don't cause environmental pollution. Only female smokers cause environmental pollution.
How does air pollution affect our health?
Short term exposure. Long term exposure.
Wood smoke is primarily made up of particulate matter but it should be called out for what it is understood by everyone as…WOOD SMOKE.
Wood smoke does not get a mention in this article.
Air pollution must be stopped at the source, not by advocating ways to try and protect people’s health after it has been released.
Wildfire smoke may carry 'mind-bending' amounts of fungi and bacteria, scientists say
"We were inspired to write this because we recognize that there are many trillions of microbes in smoke that haven't really been incorporated in an understanding ... of human health," said Leda Kobziar, the University of Idaho's wildland fire science director. "At this point, it's really unknown. The diversity of microbes that we've found are really mind-bending."
Air pollution may put children at risk of heart disease in adulthood
Children exposed to air pollution for as little as one day may suffer from higher rates of heart disease in adulthood, according to researchers at Stanford University
The emerging threat of smoke impacts on health from forest fires and climate change.
An unrecognised yet increasing impact of forest and bushfires is the exposure of larger populations to wildfire smoke, for longer periods, and more often, with significant health impacts.
“If this is what we experience regularly, we just can’t live here. This is not something we can experience regularly. There’s no way to maintain the population density in the places that we live if these are the seasonal changes ahead.”
Dr Arnagretta Hunter, Cardiologist, ANU, Canberra, Australialogist.
Comment:.I would not say smoke impact is unrecognised. This has been known for a very long time but as usual the science has fallen on deaf ears.
How extensive were the adverse health effects of bushfire smoke in the summer of 2019/20?
The 2019-2020 bushfire season was unprecedented, with over 400 excess deaths and over 3,000 additional hospitalisations attributed to the severe fire season. Over 70% of people surveyed reported exposure to bushfire smoke in the summer of 2019/2020.
Due to the impacts of climate change, longer and hotter summers are predicted in the future, and the health risks of severe bushfire seasons will become greater.
The research team wanted to understand the health effects associated with bushfire smoke for people with and without existing lung diseases.
The study found that smoke exposure was significantly linked to adverse health effects among people with pre-existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but also in previously healthy people.
~UNSW, Sydney. The Kirby Institute~
It is extremely rare that air pollution is given as the cause of death on a death certificate.
Nine-year-old asthma sufferer Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah became the first person in the UK to have air pollution listed as the cause of death on her death certificate in 2020.
SARS-Cov-2RNA found on particulate matter of Bergamo in Northern Italy.
· COVID-19 burden seems more severe in areas with high concentrations of PM.
· Particulate matter is already known to have negative effects on human health.
· This is the first evidence that SARS-CoV-2 RNA can be present on PM, thus
suggesting a possible use as indicator of epidemic recurrence.
Associations between wildfire smoke exposure during pregnancy and risk of preterm birth in California
Results suggest that each additional day of exposure to any wildfire smoke during pregnancy was associated with an 0.49 % (95 % CI: 0.41-0.59 %) increase in risk of preterm birth (<37 weeks). At sample median smoke exposure (7 days) this translated to a 3.4 % increase in risk, relative to an unexposed mother. Estimates by trimester suggest stronger associations with exposure later in pregnancy and estimates by smoke intensity indicate that observed associations were driven by higher intensity smoke-days. Exposure to low intensity smoke-days had no association with preterm birth while an additional medium (smoke PM2.5 5-10 µg/m3) or high (smoke PM2.5 > 10 µg/m3) intensity smoke-day was associated with an 0.95 % (95 % CI: 0.47-1.42 %) and 0.82 % (95 % CI: 0.41-1.24 %) increase in preterm risk, respectively. In contrast to previous findings for other pollution types, neither exposure to smoke nor the relative impact of smoke on preterm birth differed by race/ethnicity or income in our sample. However, impacts differed greatly by baseline smoke exposure with mothers inregions with infrequent smoke exposure experiencing substantially larger impacts from an additional smoke-day than mothers in regions where smoke is more common. We estimate 6,974 (95 % CI: 5,513-8,437) excess preterm births attributable to wildfire smoke exposure 2007-2012, accounting for 3.7 % of observed preterm births during this period. Our findings have important implications for understanding the costs of growing wildfire smoke exposure, and for understanding the benefits of smoke mitigation measures
Air pollution linked to increased use of mental health services
The researchers found that for every 3?g/m3 increase in particulate matter (PM2.5) and 15?g/m3 per cubic meter increase in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) there was an increased risk of having an inpatient stay of 11% and 18% respectively.
The results also showed that increases in PM2.5 and NO2 were associated with a 7% and 32% increased risk of requiring community-based mental healthcare for the same period.
Wildfire smoke claims more than 33,000 lives each year, new study finds
And that number doesn't even account for long-term exposure.
Researchers are starting to see just how much damage this pollution is doing. A team of more than 70 scientists from all around the world tallied up the death toll in a first-of-its-kind study published Wednesday in the journal Lancet Planet Health. Their estimate? Smoke from the world’s worsening wildfires is now killing 33,510 people every year.
Hidden harms: the impacts of air pollution on the mind
Researchers have known for decades that high levels of air pollution can have a negative impact on respiratory and cardiovascular health, accounting for around 28,000 to 36,000 early deaths a year in the UK according to Public Health England.
However, the effects of air pollution on the mind are less well understood, and researchers have only recently started to discover the vast range of impacts that air pollution can have on the brain.