Skip to main content
Hao Chen, James M. Samet, Philip A. Bromberg, Haiyan Tong
Year Published:

Cataloging Information

Smoke & Air Quality
Smoke & Populations

NRFSN number: 22580
FRAMES RCS number: 62563
Record updated:

In recent years, wildland fires have occurred more frequently and with increased intensity in many fire-prone areas. In addition to the direct life and economic losses attributable to wildfires, the emitted smoke is a major contributor to ambient air pollution, leading to significant public health impacts. Wildfire smoke is a complex mixture of particulate matter (PM), gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds. PM from wildfire smoke has a high content of elemental carbon and organic carbon, with lesser amounts of metal compounds. Epidemiological studies have consistently found an association between exposure to wildfire smoke (typically monitored as the PM concentration) and increased respiratory morbidity and mortality. However, previous reviews of the health effects of wildfire smoke exposure have not established a conclusive link between wildfire smoke exposure and adverse cardiovascular effects. In this review, we systematically evaluate published epidemiological observations, controlled clinical exposure studies, and toxicological studies focusing on evidence of wildfire smoke exposure and cardiovascular effects, and identify knowledge gaps. Improving exposure assessment and identifying sensitive cardiovascular endpoints will serve to better understand the association between exposure to wildfire smoke and cardiovascular effects and the mechanisms involved. Similarly, filling the knowledge gaps identified in this review will better define adverse cardiovascular health effects of exposure to wildfire smoke, thus informing risk assessments and potentially leading to the development of targeted interventional strategies to mitigate the health impacts of wildfire smoke.


Chen, Hao; Samet, James M.; Bromberg, Philip A.; Tong, Haiyan. 2021. Cardiovascular health impacts of wildfire smoke exposure. Particle and Fibre Toxicology 18:2.

Access this Document