Wildfire smoke exposure and human health: Significant gaps in research for a growing public health issue.

Abstract

Understanding the effect of wildfire smoke exposure on human health represents a unique interdisciplinary challenge to the scientific community. Population health studies indicate that wildfire smoke is a risk to human health and increases the healthcare burden of smoke-impacted areas. However, wildfire smoke composition is complex and dynamic, making characterization and modeling difficult. Furthermore, current efforts to study the effect of wildfire smoke are limited by availability of air quality measures and inconsistent air quality reporting among researchers. To help address these issues, we conducted a substantive review of wildfire smoke effects on population health, wildfire smoke exposure in occupational health, and experimental wood smoke exposure. Our goal was to evaluate the current literature on wildfire smoke and highlight important gaps in research. In particular we emphasize long-term health effects of wildfire smoke, recovery following wildfire smoke exposure, and health consequences of exposure in children.

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