Hazard reduction burning has big respiratory impact

Thursday, 10 Nov 2016

Public health experts have called for improved forecasting around hazard reduction burning in order to reduce hospitalisations for cardiac and respiratory conditions.

The call comes after the experts estimated that 14 premature deaths, 29 cardiovascular hospitalisations and 58 respiratory hospitalisations were attributable to smoke from hazard reduction burning over six smoky days in Sydney during May this year.

“Our study highlights the potential scale of the public health impact when smoke affects a population of nearly 5 million people for several days,” the authors said in their paper published in the MJA.

The researchers do not suggest that hazard reduction should be stopped, but rather that managing smoke should be an integral part of hazard reduction programs.

“Close collaboration between health, environment and fire management agencies is essential for achieving the best overall outcomes for community wellbeing,” they said.

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