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California Fires Rage On, Putting Many at Risk

The Kincade fire, threatening 90,000 California structures, has spread to 75,415 acres and is 15% contained, as of Tuesday, October 29th. According to reports, 124 structures have been destroyed, 57 of which are homes. Another 23 structures have been damaged, 15 of which are homes. More than 180,000 residents were under evacuation orders over the weekend, while more than 3,000 firefighters braved the blaze.

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Along with the threat of losing their homes and belongings, California residents affected by the fire also face the threat of health issues. Besides the fire itself, smoke proposes the main threat to the health of residents, firefighters and rescue workers. Smoke particles are able to deeply penetrate the lungs and increase the risk of respiratory diseases and asthma, as well as heart problems.

This isn’t the first time firefighters have put their health at risk and it won’t be the last, but studies have shown exactly how detrimental polluted air can be to your health. According to the Federal World Trade Center Health Program, at least 9,795 first responders, downtown workers, residents, students and others have been diagnosed with cancer related to the toxic air that encompassed New York City after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. And more than 43,000 others have been diagnosed with other health conditions related to 9/11.

While the dust from Ground Zero may have cleared long ago, it’s estimated that 95% of the world is breathing polluted air, and as the Kincade fire rips through California destroying homes and other structures, it’s likely releasing toxins into the air as well. Research shows air pollution adversely affects intelligence and measurably reduces language and math skills. Children exposed to air pollution have an increased risk of early onset and persistent asthma, linked to early education drop out.

Breathing in polluted air on a day-to-day basis can have severe ramifications for your health in years to come. To learn more about protecting yourself from air pollution, click here.