What Is the Health Impact of Wildfire Smoke?

UC Davis researchers are uncovering the possible long-term health effects of air pollution from wildfires.

by Andy Fell | Oct 11, 2021 | EnvironmentFeaturesThe Big Question

California, home of the freeway and the car-based lifestyle, has long struggled with air pollution — and been a pioneer in cleaning up the air, for example in vehicle emission standards. But in recent years, a new threat to air quality has emerged as summer and fall bring some of the worst wildfires in state history, spreading smoke and haze over hundreds of miles.

“I didn’t anticipate it, and I don’t see an end to it,” said Professor Anthony Wexler, director of the UC Davis Air Quality Research Center, who has studied air quality issues for over 30 years.

UC Davis has a long history of research in air pollution and health. For example, in the 1970s, Professor Thomas Cahill and colleagues showed how lead pollution spread from freeways over neighborhoods, leading then-Gov. Jerry Brown to introduce the first controls on lead as a gasoline additive. Now researchers across the campus are looking at the threat to health from wildfire smoke.

Read the full story of smoke, wildfires, and the health risks exposure creates for children and outdoor workers. 

Full story here in UC Davis Magazine

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