Wildfire And Higher risk of Cancer 

Wildfire And Higher risk of Cancer

How does wildfire affect the health? Are people exposed to Wildfire at a higher risk of cancer? A new study in lancet find a higher incidence of lung cancer and brain tumors in people exposed to wildfires.

The study from McGill University tracked over two million Canadiana over a period of 20 years. The researchers claim it to be the first study to examine how proximity to forest fires may influence cancer risk

“Wildfires tend to happen in the same locations each year, but we know very little about the long-term health effects of these events. Our study shows that living in close proximity to wildfires may increase the risk of certain concern,” says Scott Weichenthal, an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health at McGill University,

In the study, the researchers said that people living within 50 kilometer of wildfires over the past ten years had a ten per cent higher incidence of brain tumors and 4.9 per cent higher incidence of lung cancer, compared to people living further away.


The researchers said that wildfires are predicted to become more prevalent, severe, and longer in duration in the future because of changing climate. “Many of the pollutants emitted by wildfires are known human carcinogens, suggesting that exposure could increase cancer risk in hunan,” says Jill Korsiak, a PhD student in Professor Weichenthal’s lab who led the analysis.

Wildfires typically occur in similar regions each year, and as a result, people living in nearby communities might be exposed to carcinogenic wildfire pollutants on a chronic basis, warn the researchers.


Apart from air pollution, wildfires also pollute aquatic, soil, and indoor environments. While some pollutants return to normal concentrations shortly after the fire stops, other chemicals might persist in the environment for long periods of time, including heavy metals and hydrocarbons.

The researchers said that more research is necessary to understand the complex mixture of environmental pollutants released during wildfires. They also note that further work is needed to develop more long-term estimates of the chronic health effects of wildfires.


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