How is our health affected by particles from wood burning?

Project: Research


It is well known that wood smoke is harmful in high doses, for example, when food is cooked over open fires indoors. There are experimental studies indicating that wood smoke even at lower doses, such as those that may occur in residential areas, can be harmful to our health. But so far there are no studies on the population level or on long-term effects, despite the fact that wood smoke in many areas is the largest source of air pollution exposure. Environmental inspectors are often called by individuals who are concerned about their neighbors' wood smoke, and they therefore call for population studies that can form the basis for recommendations. Likewise policy makers’ call for more knowledge, today wood smoke is regulated in some counties or areas but not in others. A reason that studies are lacking is that such studies require major data collection on all chimneys. In Västerbotten and Skåne, the counties have done a great job of identifying hundreds of thousands of chimneys. Now we want to use that data to estimate the levels of wood smoke at the home address of two large unique population-based cohorts, young people in Skåne and older in Västerbotten. The cohorts, with 100 000 individuals each, have good data on other risk factors, and can be linked to health records and mortality registries. Together, this gives us a unique opportunity to conduct cutting-edge research in a field of research that has not been previously studied: the health effects of wood smoke outdoors.

Effective start/end date2018/01/012020/12/31