Health Effects of Fine Particles and Smoke | Region 10 | US EPA

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Health Effects of Fine Particles and Smoke

Smoke is a complex mixture of gases and fine particles produced when wood and other organic matter burn. The biggest health threat from smoke comes from fine particles. These microscopic particles can get into your eyes and respiratory system, where they can cause serious health impacts. Many scientific studies have linked the breathing of fine particles to a series of significant problems, including:

Some people are more susceptible to smoke than others:

Even healthy people may experience temporary symptoms from exposure to an elevated level of particles. Symptoms may include irritation of the eyes, nose and throat; coughing; phlegm; chest tightness; and shortness of breath.

The following links can provide additional information on smoke and health effects, including precautions you can take to limit your exposure, measures to protect yourself when particle levels are high, how to obtain information on air quality in your area, health effects research, and educational materials.

Air Quality forecasts are provided by many state and local agencies, using EPA's Air Quality Index (AQI), a uniform index that provides general information to the public about air quality and associated health effects.

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