Here’s How Toxic Wildfire Smoke Can Be

  • Recent research finds that wildfire smoke not only contains a range of toxic chemicals, but it can increase the risk of contracting respiratory viruses like the coronavirus.
  • While wildfires are predominantly occurring in the western United States, smoke from these fires can affect areas thousands of miles away.
  • On July 20, New York state warned that the Air Quality Index could reach 100, meaning members of sensitive groups may experience health effects due to particles from West Coast wildfires.

This year’s California wildfire season has affected vast swathes of the United States, with plumes of smoke carried on the jet stream as far as the East Coast.

The situation was extreme enough that an Air Quality Health Advisory was issued for New York state due to elevated levels of fine particulate matter from wildfires on the west coasts of the United States and Canada.

Recent research finds that wildfire smoke not only contains a range of toxic chemicals, but it can increase the risk of contracting respiratory viruses like the coronavirus.