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People in the Eastern U.S. might be nearly as susceptible to the dangers of wildfire smoke as those in the Western U.S.

Estimated Mortality and Morbidity Attributable to Smoke Plumes in the United States: Not Just a Western US Problem, First published: 21 August 2021, GeoHealth, – “The pollutants from landscape (wild, prescribed, and agricultural) fires are expected to have an increasing impact on air quality and health in the United States (US) across the current century. The implications of landscape-fire smoke on the regional and seasonal distribution of health events and the relative health importance of specific pollutants within smoke are not well understood. In the present study, we assess the seasonal and regional distribution of the health impacts from US smoke exposure from 2006 to 2018. We also estimate the long-term health impacts for both fine particles (PM2.5) and gas-phase hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) in smoke. Although the majority of large landscape fires occur in the western US, we find the majority of deaths (74%) and asthma emergency department visits and hospital admissions (on average 75% across 2006–2018) attributable to smoke occur outside the West. Across the US, smoke-attributable asthma emergency department visits predominantly occur in spring and summer. The long-term health impacts associated with smoke PM2.5 are much higher than the estimated long-term health impacts of gas-phase smoke HAPs. Our results indicate awareness and mitigation of landscape-fire smoke exposure is important across the US, not just in regions in proximity to large wildfires…”

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