Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Peat wildfire smoke linked to heart failure risk

Date:
June 29, 2011
Source:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Summary:
The 2008 peat bog wildfires in North Carolina led to an increase in emergency room visits for respiratory and cardiovascular effects, records show.

In the summer of 2008, a lightning strike started a wildfire in eastern North Carolina that burned for weeks, blanketing nearby communities in smoke. An EPA study shows for the first time that smoke from this wildfire, which was fueled by peat (decayed vegetable matter found in swampy areas) can lead to an increase in emergency room visits for both respiratory and cardiovascular effects.

Related Articles


This was the first study to report increased visits for symptoms of heart failure in counties exposed to wildfire smoke. The study found a 37 percent increase in emergency room visits for people with symptoms of heart failure during a three day period of dense smoke exposure and the following five days.

The EPA study also showed an increase in emergency department visits for problems relating to asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, and bronchitis, which are similar to studies of other wildfires.

Researchers used satellite imagery to identify counties impacted by the wildfire, and obtained numbers of emergency room visits for cardiac and respiratory problems in exposed and nearby unexposed counties to show the health impact of this fire.

This was not a unique occurrence. Each year NC experiences more than 100 wildfires and the summer of 2011 has resulted in a peat bog wildfire, which has already consumed 45,000 acres, impacting coastal and inland counties continuously since May 5.

The study findings are expected to provide relevant and important information for state and county public health officials as they consider strategies to address the adverse health effects of wildfire smoke in the general public and especially in vulnerable populations.

The study did not examine health effects from other fires such as controlled fires that are intentionally set or other fires that burn vegetation, but not peat. The findings cannot be extrapolated to non-peat related fires. Peat fires tend to burn slowly and close to the ground so that the smoke is not as easily moved upward into the atmosphere. They are also very difficult to extinguish and can last for weeks or months.

The study was published online June 27 in Environmental Health Perspectives in collaboration with researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Pitt County Memorial Hospital and the NC Division of Public Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ana G. Rappold, Susan L. Stone, Wayne E. Cascio, Lucas M. Neas, Vasu J. Kilaru, Martha Sue Carraway, James J. Szykman, Amy Ising, William E. Cleve, John T. Meredith, Heather Vaughan-Batten, Lana Deyneka, Robert B. Devlin. Peat Bog Wildfire Smoke Exposure in Rural North Carolina Is Associated with Cardio-Pulmonary Emergency Department Visits Assessed Through Syndromic Surveillance. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2011; DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1003206

Cite This Page:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "Peat wildfire smoke linked to heart failure risk." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110627183942.htm>.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2011, June 29). Peat wildfire smoke linked to heart failure risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110627183942.htm
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. "Peat wildfire smoke linked to heart failure risk." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110627183942.htm (accessed January 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Rare Clouds Fill Grand Canyon

Raw: Rare Clouds Fill Grand Canyon

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) For the second time in two months, a rare weather phenomenon filled the Grand Canyon with thick clouds just below the rim on Wednesday. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Senate Passes Bill for Keystone XL Pipeline

Senate Passes Bill for Keystone XL Pipeline

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) The Republican-controlled Senate has passed a bipartisan bill approving construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
"Cloud Inversion" In Grand Canyon

"Cloud Inversion" In Grand Canyon

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 29, 2015) Time lapse video captures a blanket of clouds amassing in the Grand Canyon -- the result of a rare meteorological process called "cloud inversion." Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) Biofuels aren&apos;t the best alternative to fossil fuels, according to a new report. In fact, they&apos;re quite a bad one. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins