Wildfires churning out dense plumes of smoke as they scorch huge swaths of the U.S. West Coast have exposed millions of people to hazardous pollution levels, causing emergency room visits to spike and potentially thousands of deaths among the elderly and infirm.
Over Labor Day weekend, a powerful windstorm swept across the hot, drought-stricken Oregon landscape, sparking an outbreak of destructive and deadly wildfires. In the traumatic days that followed, something else destructive began spreading wildly: conspiracy theories.
Experts are warning that existing water safety rules are not suitable to a world where wildfires destroy more residential areas than in the past. Those houses that burn are full of material that creates toxic residues and fumes, like plastic.
Resumption of normal life in the United States under a herd immunity approach would result in an enormous death toll by all estimates.
Researchers find people's exposure to PFAS and certain flame retardants could be significantly reduced by opting for healthier building materials and furniture.
Fish exposed to harmful contaminants can pass on health issues such as reproductive problems to future generations that had no direct exposure.
An expanding wood pellet market in the Southeast has fallen short of climate and job goals—instead bringing air pollution, noise and reduced biodiversity in majority Black communities.