Child safety and health should always be a high priority. As a recent study from the University of California, Davis shows, air pollution from wildfires is a significant threat to child safety. Children are especially sensitive to air pollution. This is because they have smaller bodies and a greater lung surface to body weight ratio than adults.
This study demonstrates that tiny particles from the wildfire smoke can enter the lungs of children. From the lungs, these particles then enter the bloodstream. These tiny particles then damage the overall health of a child's body.
This damage includes reduced functioning of the cardiac autonomic regulation system. This means is that vital life processes like heart rate and blood pressure are negatively impacted. This leads to elevated heart rates which could possibly lead to health issues as children get older. Other effects include damage to the lungs and other cell structures throughout the body.
The UC Davis study examined the blood of healthy children from ages 9-11 that may have been exposed to smoke particles from California wildfires. The researchers used EPA measurements of local air quality to study pollution. They found that children had more inflammation markers in their blood when wildfires were active. Other research shows that low air quality is also linked to negative health outcomes. These include asthma, reduced lung function and autism and other issues.
The researchers suggest that issues with wildfires may be linked to climate change. They also suggest that child safety must be considered when discussing air pollution concerns. The study suggests then that the issues of climate change and smoke from wildfires, presents a significant risk to public health. This research should be continued to help formulate policies which improve air quality. This is needed to protect public health, especially that of children.
When air quality is low, it's best to keep children indoors and change your air filters frequently. Investing in high quality air filters throughout your home can be beneficial, not just when there are wildfires, but from other chemicals and allergens in the air.