Face-to-face with scorching wildfire: potential toxicant exposure and the health risks of smoke for wildland firefighters at the wildland-urban interface
The Lancet Regional Health – As wildfire risks have elevated due to climate change, the health risks that toxicants from fire smoke pose to wildland firefighters have been exacerbated. Recently, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has reclassified wildland firefighters’ occupational exposure as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1). Wildfire smoke contributes to an increased risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, yet wildland firefighters have inadequate respiratory protection. This review focuses on four aspects of wildland firefighters’ health risks at the wildland-urban interface: economic costs and human impact, respiratory protection, multipollutant mixtures, and proactive management of wildfires.
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As a national organization, our work extends across borders into many Indigenous lands throughout Canada. We gratefully acknowledge that our host institution, the University of British Columbia Point Grey campus, is located on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people.