Living and breathing with wildfire smoke

By Matteo Cimellaro
The National Observer
November 21, 2023
Category: Health & Safety
Region: Canada

Wilfred Tomma… from Skwlāx te Secwepemcúl̓ecw east of Kamloops, suffers from COPD. He partly blames “the stuff” he inhaled working the firelines so many years ago, often when the protective gear was sparse compared to now, but acknowledges it’s difficult to pin down an exact cause. …The health risks of wildfires and their disproportionate impacts on First Nations have left health experts calling on Ottawa to increase funding and centralize environmental health research. Currently, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research is falling short of the funding found in the United States and the European Union. The so-called stuff Tomma inhaled during his time working as a wildland firefighter is called fine particulate matter, which has a diameter of 2.5 microns or smaller, Dr. Kamran Golmohammadi, medical officer for the First Nations Health Authority in BC, explained. …In Québec, heavy smoke caused most of the Cree Nation evacuations.

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