Wildfire Smoke Exposure-Response [WISER]

PI Vijay Krishnamoorthy, School of Medicine, Anesthesiology

Fintan Hughes, School of Medicine, Anesthesiology

Drew Shindell, Nicholas School of the Environment

Karthik Raghunathan, School of Medicine, Anesthesiology

Marcus Ong, Duke-NUS School of Medicine

Brooke Alhanti, School of Medicine, Neurology

Prasad Kasibhatla, Nicholas School of the Environment

Wildfire Smoke Exposure-Response [WiSER] Climate change is threatening the stability of global ecosystems and in turn harming human health. Over the past 15 years, population’s exposure to wildfires has increased in 128 countries, yet the health impact of the smoke on exposed populations is notwell described. We set out to investigate the exposure response function linking wildfire smoke and human health, to better describe the true scale and nature of this health impact. In particular, we aim to quantify the effect of wildfire smoke on populations living close to and far downwind of the fire, the impact of indoor air quality, and the variation in health effects between countries. We are combining healthcare data sets with emergency department visits, hospital admissions and mortality data for all of California and Singapore, as well as 90% of the Brazilian population. These will be analyzed with respect to incidence of cardiac, respiratory, cerebrovascular and thromboembolic emergency presentations and hospital admissions. These health data are being analyzed with respect to global atmospheric models from the GEOS-Chem collaborative, the European Space Agency, NASA fire spots from the MODIS satellite instrument and unique access to a network of 2 millions indoor air quality sensors provided by a research partnership with Dyson. In time, results can be extrapolated along different representative concentration pathways. This work is being undertaken by a core team of epidemiologists at Duke’s Critical Care and Perioperative Population Health Research center, atmospheric scientists at the Nicholas school and external data scientists. Californian and Singaporean health data are being analyzed in parallel through collaboration with the Californian EPA and Duke National University of Singapore, and the National Environmental Agency, Singapore.