EPA & Wildfires
EPA & Wildfires
It’s the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The organization was created during the Clean Air Act of 1976 and provides federal oversight of establishing air quality standards for auto manufacturers and other factories. Now, the EPA oversees all aspects of environmental protection, including water quality, pesticide use, and climate change.
Overwhelmingly wildfires are a result of climate change. The climate has gotten warmer and drier making it easier for wildfires to spark. Since 1983, wildfire season has gotten longer and acreage burned from wildfires has increased.
The EPA monitors air quality and wildfires are one of the worst culprits in creating poor air quality. They lead to an increase in PM2.5, which can result in premature death and reduced lung function.
Breathing in polluted air also results in other acute and chronic health conditions such as asthma, lung cancer, and heart disease.
Wildfire smoke can also get into the home and lead to poor Indoor Air Quality.
The soot, ash, and tiny particles produced by wildfires can travel several thousand miles. Iowa residents were greeted with hazy skies as a result of the 2020 California wildfires.
In addition, wildfires are one of the biggest culprits of poor air quality and as climate change accelerates, it’s likely that areas that have previously not dealt with wildfire outbreaks could be impacted.
Recently, the outbreak of wildfires throughout the country destroyed several acres throughout both city, state, and national parks.
In their 2020 State of the Air, the American Lung Association ranked the 25 worst cities for short-term particle pollution. All 25 of those cities reside in the western United States. If the air gets any worse or if wildfires continue to spark up, people may be forced to move because they lost their home.
Wildfires can cause symptoms ranging from minor health issues similar to allergies to major health issues that can cause premature death and reduced lung function. Children, elderly, and the immunocompromised are most susceptible to the effects from wildfires.
American Lung Association - https://www.lung.org/clean-air/emergencies-and-natural-disasters/wildfires
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