Research: Air pollution from forest fires is linked to over 33.000 deaths worldwide each year

The deaths associated with smoke and air pollution from forest fires are estimated to be almost as high as the number of heat-related deaths worldwide each year, according to a new international scientific research with Greek contribution. At least 33.500 deaths a year worldwide can be attributed to air pollution from forest fires.

The study estimates that even short-term exposure of humans to tiny particles (PM2,5 or up to 2,5 millionths of a meter) that enter the lungs and bloodstream increases the risk of dying from lung disease, cardiovascular and other causes. . Particles from forest fires are usually smaller and more toxic than those from urban fires.

Researchers led by Yuming Guo of the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Australia’s Melbourne University alone analyzed data from 65,5 million deaths in 749 million deaths in the medical journal The Lancet Planetary Health. countries. Correlating these data with data on the levels of PM43 particle concentrations due to fires, they concluded that 2.5% of deaths from any cause internationally, 0,62% of cardiovascular deaths and 0,55% of deaths associated with lung disease, can be associated each year with the direct effects of microparticles from fires. By comparison, heat-related deaths are estimated to account for 0,64% of all deaths worldwide.

Guatemala was found to have the highest rate of annual fire-related deaths from fires (3,04%), followed by Thailand (2,32%), Paraguay (2,09%), Mexico (1,72 , 1,61%) and Peru (0,33%). In Greece the corresponding percentage was estimated at 0,26%, just like in Canada, while in the USA at 0,09% and in Britain only XNUMX%.

“Smoke pollution from fires can spread up to 1.000 km away and the risk of fires is projected to increase as climate change worsens,” Guo said. He estimated that children and the elderly are the most vulnerable to the effects of fires on health.

From the Greek side, professors Klea Katsougianni and Evangelia Samoli of the Laboratory of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Medical Statistics of the Medical School of the University of Athens participated in the study.

Research: Air pollution from forest fires is linked to over 33.000 deaths worldwide each year | ATHENS 9,84

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