California has seen a lot of wildfires in recent years due to factors such as drought, high temperatures, vegetation overgrowth, and the negligence of utility companies such as PG&E and Southern California Edison.
Wildfires put a lot of smoke into the air: smoke from California’s Dixie Fire in 2021 caused unhealthy air conditions as far away as Colorado and Utah, and Northern California wildfires famously caused the daytime sky in San Francisco to turn dark orange in 2020.
You may be wondering why smoke causes the air to be unhealthy. You may be wondering what chemicals are found in the smoke that wildfires create. This article will discuss the chemicals that wildfires emit in detail.
Wildfires, according to the EPA, emit:
• Carbon monoxide
• Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
• Sulfuric acid
• Ammonium sulfate
• Ammonium nitrate
• Sodium chloride
The EPA says that exposure to wildfire smoke is linked to an increased risk of respiratory- and cardiovascular-related effects.
In addition, researchers have found that wildfires emit:
• Carbon dioxide
• Nitrous oxide
• Nonmethane volatile organic carbon
• Nitrogen oxides
According to the EPA, wildfire smoke can contain pollen and mold. Pollen and mold can absolutely cause allergic symptoms such as sneezing, red eyes, watery eyes, and a runny nose.
Those with allergies can see wildfire smoke worsen their symptoms, according to Cedars Sinai. Even low levels of smoke can cause their allergic symptoms to worsen.
Wildfire smoke can cause headaches. According to the U.S. Forest Service, the inhalation of wildfire smoke can cause headaches, as well as eye irritation, throat irritation, dizziness, nausea, and shortness of breath.
Wildfire smoke, according to the CDC, can cause a wide variety of health effects, including:
• Trouble breathing normally
• Scratchy throat
• Stinging eyes
• Sinus irritation
• Runny nose
• Chest pain
• Shortness of breath
• Asthma attacks
• Fast heartbeat
The CDC suggests that those who may be more likely to get sick from wildfire smoke include people with preexisting heart and respiratory conditions, children, pregnant women, and older adults.
Gases and toxins in wildfire smoke, according to ABC 7, can cause sinus infections, as well as sore throats, headaches, stinging eyes, and chest pains.
Exposure to wildfire smoke can alter immune function and increase your susceptibility to respiratory infections, including COVID-19. The sinuses are part of the respiratory system.
Some air conditioner filters can filter wildfire smoke. You can buy these air filters at hardware stores such as Home Depot, Lowes, or Ace Hardware.
There are three ratings used for the filtering ability of air filters: MERV, MPR, and FPR. All these ratings correspond to how the filters are able to trap small particles. MERV is the most commonly used rating system and is the only rating system that is nationally regulated.
The EPA recommends using a filter with a MERV rating of at least 13 to deal with wildfire smoke when preparing for fire season. A MERV 13 air filter roughly corresponds to an MPR 1900 air filter or an FPR 10 air filter.
Wildfire smoke can travel thousands of miles. Smoke from California wildfires in September 2020
traveled all the way to the Netherlands, over 5,000 miles away.
Wildfire smoke contains water vapor, gases, and small particles. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, the small particles can cause bronchitis, as well as headaches, scratchy throat, runny nose, and burning eyes.
Wildfire smoke contains carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is emitted “at dangerous levels around fires,” and wildfire smoke can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning when ventilation is poor, according to NYU Langone Health allergist and immunologist Purvi Parikh, MD.
Wildfire smoke can cause numerous respiratory symptoms. Some of these respiratory symptoms include sore throat, trouble breathing, and dry cough, according to the CDC.
Wildfire smoke can cause one to feel lethargic, according to KREM 2. Fine particles in wildfire smoke can destroy red blood cells and lower the body’s capacity to carry oxygen. This, in turn, leads to your body not getting as much oxygen as it is used to, making you feel tired.
California Wildfire Lawyers
The California wildfire lawyers at Nadrich & Cohen are currently representing thousands of wildfire victims. We represent the victims of wildfires that have been started by someone else’s negligence, such as wildfires started by the negligence of utility companies such as Southern California Edison and PG&E.
Contact us today for a free consultation if you have suffered injuries, property damage, lost business, or evacuation costs due to a wildfire that was started by someone else’s negligence. You may be eligible for financial compensation for your wildfire-related losses. We represent wildfire victims on a contingency fee basis, so there is no charge to you unless we obtain a financial recovery for you.