Expert: How wildfire haze is harming human health

Published: 14 May 2024

Wildfires have led Environment Canada to issue air quality advisories for parts of British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories, as forecasters warn the smoke could drift farther east. Wildfire-related haze could also move east into Ontario and Quebec, affecting areas from Georgian Bay to Quebec City (CTV News

Here is an expert from McGill University who can comment on this topic:  

Scott Weichenthal, Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health 

“Forest fires release a wide range of pollutants that are known to harm human health, including human carcinogens. In many ways, the effect of inhaling smoke from a forest fire is similar to that of inhaling smoke from a cigarette. In the short term, air pollution from forest fires could lead to increased hospital visits, especially among people with existing health conditions. We are currently working to understand the long-term health impacts of wildfires, as less research has focused on this topic.” 

Scott Weichenthal is an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health. His research program is dedicated to identifying and evaluating environmental risk factors for chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. 

scott.weichenthal [at] (English) 

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