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Bushfires, air pollution and asthma

Peter R Lewis and Stephen J Corbett
Med J Aust 2002; 176 (11): 517.
Published online: 3 June 2002

The immediate health effects of bushfire smoke are well known to Australia's volunteer firefighters, who willingly fight bushfires each summer with no remuneration and at considerable personal risk. However, the population health impacts of pollution associated with large bushfires or "backburning" operations (prescribed burning to reduce the fuel load and the intensity of future bushfires) are less well defined, but are a matter of concern for emergency, environmental and public health agencies. A study from Darwin, published in this issue of the Journal by Johnston et al (page 535),1 is a welcome addition to this area of research.

  • Peter R Lewis1
  • Stephen J Corbett2

  • 1 Central Coast Public Health Unit, Central Coast Health, Gosford, NSW.
  • 2 Environmental Health Branch, Gladesville Hospital, Gladesville, NSW.


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