Quantification of the Health Impacts Associated with Fine Particulate Matter due to Wildfires
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Wildfires can be devastating to property and the ecological landscape; they also have a substantial impact on human health and welfare. Wildfires emit a variety of air pollutants such as fine particulate matter (PM2.5), coarse particulate matter (PM10), volatile organic compounds, as well as nitrogen and sulfur oxides. Fine particles (PM2.5) have been linked to many cardiovascular and respiratory problems such as premature death, heart attacks, asthma exacerbation, and acute bronchitis. This project focuses on quantifying the incidence and monetary value of adverse human health impacts resulting from wildfire emissions of PM2.5 in the Pacific Northwest during the summer of 2007. Using a combination of tools, including geospatial analysis and a benefits assessment tool developed by U.S. EPA (BenMAP), this project investigates the changes in incidence of certain health outcomes resulting from the change in air quality attributable to wildfire. The changes in incidence can then be given a dollar value using valuation functions to highlight the magnitude of the health effects caused by PM2.5 wildfire emissions. In light of current climate change predictions, PM2.5 wildfire emissions may be expected to increase in the future.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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