Study finds peat wildfire smoke linked to heart failure risk

June 27, 2011

An EPA study published online Monday in Environmental Health Perspectives finds that the 2008 peat bog wildfires in NC led to an increase in emergency room visits for respiratory and cardiovascular effects.

The study found a 37 percent increase in ER visits for people with symptoms of heart failure during a three day period of dense smoke exposure and the following five days.

Other findings include a 65 percent increase in visits for asthma, 73 percent increase in visits for COPD and 59 percent increase in visits for pneumonia and bronchitis.

This is the first study of its kind that has reported ER visits for symptoms associated with wildfire exposure. Keep in mind this is a peat bog fire, which is different in that it burns slowly and smoke often stays low to the ground.

Explore further: Southern California wildfires pose health risks to children

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