- Globally, 4.2 million premature deaths occur every year because of exposure to outdoor air pollution, and 2.3 million deaths are attributable to exposure to household (indoor) air pollution. On average approximately 10% of premature deaths are attributable to smoke from landscape fires (including bushfires)
- Bushfire smoke is a key component of outdoor air pollution along with climate change (2).
- Bushfires have always been integral to Australian landscapes and the associated pollution is often an inevitable environmental health hazard.
- People with asthma are more vulnerable to the health impact of bushfire smoke exposure compared to general populations.
- Exposure to bushfire related fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is associated with an increased risk of hospital admissions, medication use and emergency visits for asthma.
- Exposure to landscape fire smoke also increases the risk of respiratory mortality including asthma.
- People with asthma were more likely to report respiratory and non-respiratory symptoms during the 2019/20 bushfire smoke period than after the bushfire period.
- Women, including pregnant and breastfeeding women with asthma were more likely to report anxiety during the bushfire period than following the bushfire period.
- There is no ‘safe’ level of air pollution .