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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Columbia Report Shows Wildfire Smoke Poses Health Risk Many Miles from the Blazes

Wildfires will get worse with climate change, not only endangering those near the blazes, but also threatening the health of millions of Americans from wildfire smoke that can drift hundreds of miles, according to a new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. “There’s trouble in the wind: What blazes in Texas rarely stays in Texas. Wildfire smoke can pose serious health risks to people hundreds of miles away from the sources of fires,” said Dr. Kim Knowlton, assistant clinical professor of environmental health sciences at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and a senior scientist in NRDC’s Health and Environment Program, who directed the analysis. As a result, communities must protect themselves from the health risks arising from exposure to wildfire smoke – including asthma attacks, pneumonia, and more serious chronic lung diseases. The report, titled “Where There’s Fire, There’s Smoke,” suggests the country should take action to curb the threat of climate change. “Communities need safeguards against this peril, and our country needs standards to curb the unlimited carbon pollution from power plants that’s driving climate change,” said Dr. Knowlton.