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Community Health Vulnerability Index Provides Public Health Tool to Protect Vulnerable Populations from Impaired Air

EPA scientists developed a Community Health Vulnerability Index that can be used to help identify communities at higher health risk from wildfire smoke. Breathing smoke from a nearby wildfire is a health threat, especially for people with lung or heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure as well as older adults, and those living in communities with poverty, unemployment and other indicators of social stress. Health officials can use the tool, in combination with air quality models, to focus public health strategies on vulnerable populations living in areas where air quality is impaired, either by wildfire smoke or other sources of pollution.