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Sub-clinical effects of outdoor smoke in affected communities


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O'Dwyer, T, Abramson, MJ, Straney, L, Salimi, F, Johnston, F ORCID: 0000-0002-5150-8678, Wheeler, AJ ORCID: 0000-0001-9288-8163, O'Keeffe, D, Haikerwal, A, Reisen, F, Hopper, I and Dennekamp, M 2021 , 'Sub-clinical effects of outdoor smoke in affected communities' , International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 18, no. 3 , pp. 1-10 , doi: 10.3390/ijerph18031131.

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Many Australians are intermittently exposed to landscape fire smoke from wildfires or planned (prescribed) burns. This study aimed to investigate effects of outdoor smoke from planned burns, wildfires and a coal mine fire by assessing biomarkers of inflammation in an exposed and predominantly older population. Participants were recruited from three communities in south-eastern Australia. Concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) were continuously measured within these communities, with participants performing a range of health measures during and without a smoke event. Changes in biomarkers were examined in response to PM2.5 concentrations from outdoor smoke. Increased levels of FeNO (fractional exhaled nitric oxide) (β = 0.500 [95%CI 0.192 to 0.808] p 2.5 levels from outdoor smoke, with effects also shown for wildfire smoke at 4, 12, 24 and 48-h lag periods and coal mine fire smoke at a 4 h lag. Total white cell (β = -0.088 [-0.171 to -0.006] p = 0.036) and neutrophil counts (β = -0.077 [-0.144 to -0.010] p = 0.024) declined in response to a 10 µg/m3 increase in PM2.5. However, exposure to outdoor smoke resulting from wildfires, planned burns and a coal mine fire was not found to affect other blood biomarkers.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:O'Dwyer, T and Abramson, MJ and Straney, L and Salimi, F and Johnston, F and Wheeler, AJ and O'Keeffe, D and Haikerwal, A and Reisen, F and Hopper, I and Dennekamp, M
Keywords: FeNO, PM2.5, biomarkers, bushfire, landscape fire, neutrophils, smoke, white cell count
Journal or Publication Title: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Publisher: MDPI
ISSN: 1661-7827
DOI / ID Number: 10.3390/ijerph18031131
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.This article is an open access article distributed under the terms andconditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

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