climate change, wildfire and mental health resources



Air Pollution and Climate Mental Health. Robin Cooper MD and Lise van Susteren MD, Ecopsychepedia, Dec. 19, 2023.

Surviving Smoke Season. Dr. Orna Izakson blog, October 2022.

The Health Effects of Wildfire Smoke May Last a Lifetime. Michele Cohen Marill, Wired, June 2019.

Wildfire Smoke May Carry Deadly Fungi Long Distances. Maryn McKenna, Wired, Oct. 18, 2022.

Wildfire Smoke poses neurological hazards. University of New Medico Health Sciences Center (on ScienceDaily), Nov. 6, 2021.


Black, Carolyn, et al. “Early life wildfire smoke exposure is associated with immune dysregulation and lung function decrements in adolescence.” American journal of respiratory cell and molecular biology 56.5 (2017): 657-666. [PMID: 28208028]

The outcome measures of our study were assessed in adolescent animals exposed as infants, suggesting an altered developmental trajectory that persisted with age. We observed significant attenuation of proinflammatory cytokine synthesis in response to LPS or flagellin challenge in PBMC cultures from exposed animals. We also found sex differences in conjunction with exposure; IL-8 synthesis was significantly decreased in females, whereas the effect on IL-6 synthesis was most pronounced in males. Wildfire smoke–exposed animals, as a whole, were found to have significantly reduced lung volumes, but only females showed decreased lung compliance relative to control counterparts.

Chen, Hao, et al. “Cardiovascular health impacts of wildfire smoke exposure.” Particle and fibre toxicology 18.1 (2021): 2. [PMID: 33413506]

This review finds that wildfire smoke contributes to high levels of air pollutants, including coarse and fine PM, gases, PAHs and VOCs, during wildfire events. Exposure to these pollutants, with most evidence derived from studies of wildfire smoke PM, is a risk factor for adverse cardiovascular effects, especially among susceptible populations, including the elderly, pregnant women, and those with low SES. The young and healthy may also develop biological responses including systemic inflammation and vascular activation. …Clinical and toxicological research have highlighted several possible mechanisms of wildfire smoke-induced cardiovascular effects including systemic inflammation and oxidative stress, autonomic nervous system imbalance, release of EV mediators into the circulation, and direct interaction of translocated smoke components into the circulation.

Eisenman, David P., and Lindsay P. Galway. “The mental health and well-being effects of wildfire smoke: a scoping review.” BMC public health 22.1 (2022): 2274.

Kobziar, Leda N., et al. “Pyroaerobiology: the aerosolization and transport of viable microbial life by wildland fire.” Ecosphere 9.11 (2018): e02507.

Microbes aerosolized and transported by wildland fire may have profound effects on atmospheric and environmental factors, acting as nuclei for ice condensation, transporting pathogens or symbionts, and otherwise influencing ecosystems and human populations downwind.

Kobziar, Leda N., and George R. Thompson III. “Wildfire smoke, a potential infectious agent.” Science 370.6523 (2020): 1408-1410. [PMID: 33335049. Abstract only.]

Although the pulmonary and cardiovascular consequences of human exposure to smoke particulate matter are extensively researched, there remains little recognition or monitoring of a smoke component with potentially important health repercussions: microbes.

Ma, Yiqun, et al. “Wildfire smoke PM2. 5 and mortality in the contiguous United States.” medRxiv (2023). (Preprint)

Mirabelli, Maria C., et al. “Wildfire smoke and symptoms affecting mental health among adults in the US state of Oregon.” Preventive medicine 164 (2022): 107333.

Molitor, David, Jamie T. Mullins, and Corey White. “Air pollution and suicide in rural and urban America: Evidence from wildfire smoke.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 120.38 (2023): e2221621120. (Abstract.)

Palinkas, Lawrence A., et al. “Adaptation Resources and Responses to Wildfire Smoke and Other Forms of Air Pollution in Low-Income Urban Settings: A Mixed-Methods Study.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 20.7 (2023): 5393.

Nadeau, Kari, et al. “Ambient air pollution impairs regulatory T-cell function in asthma.” Journal of allergy and clinical immunology 126.4 (2010): 845-852.

Prunicki, Mary, et al. “The impact of prescribed fire versus wildfire on the immune and cardiovascular systems of children.” Allergy 74.10 (2019): 1989.

To investigate the immune system, immunophenotype results were compared with a one-way ANOVA across the 3 groups for percent Th1 cells (CD4+, CXCR3+, CCR5+), revealing signicant differences among groups (p<.0001) …with the lowest Th1% for the wildfire group (control 5.19% ±1.89; prescribed fire 3.99% ±0.34; wildfire 2.04% ±0.31). There were no significant differences between the groups for other immune cell types such as Th2 cells (CD4+, CCR4+, CCR6-; p=0.14) or T regulatory cells (CD4+, CD 25+, CD 127-;p=0.66).

Scieszka, David, et al. “Biomass smoke inhalation promotes neuroinflammatory and metabolomic temporal changes in the hippocampus of female mice.” Journal of Neuroinflammation 20.1 (2023): 192.

Scieszka, David, et al. “Neuroinflammatory and neurometabolomic consequences from inhaled wildfire smoke-derived particulate matter in the western United States.” Toxicological Sciences 186.1 (2022): 149-162. (Also here.)


To, Patricia, Ejemai Eboreime, and Vincent IO Agyapong. “The impact of wildfires on mental health: a scoping review.” Behavioral Sciences 11.9 (2021): 126.


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