LETTER – Health officer should review impact of wildfire smoke on people

(Image: ArmchairMayor file photo)

This letter was sent to Dr. Bonnie Henry today (Aug. 16, 2017) by the Kamloops Physicians for a Health Environment Society:

Dr. Bonnie Henry
Deputy Provincial Health Officer

Dear Dr. Henry: Twitter: @_KPHE

16 August 2017

The City of Kamloops has been experiencing an unprecedented series of forest fire caused smoke events since 1 July of this year. The event that began 31 July and ended 12 August produced hourly concentrations as high as 364 μg/m3 at the Aberdeen Monitoring Station in Kamloops and 862 μg/m3 at the downtown Federal Building Monitoring Station. During that event the BC Air Quality Objective of a maximum daily average of 25 μg/m3 was far exceeded during the entire period.

KPHES will shortly be releasing a review of the air quality Kamloops has been experiencing since 1 July. I will ensure that you receive a copy when it is available. We also have a survey open and ongoing of current health impacts intending to sample our community from BC Day weekend to Labour Day weekend. (appending link to an interim report below)

Yesterday, local media ran sound bites from your discussion of the health impacts of the smoke on residents of Kamloops. The take away was that there would be no long term health impacts for the vast majority of the population. Quotes from your interview are available on the Radio NL Facebook page. You say: “We don’t expect to have long term health effects from this type of exposure like you would, for example, with ongoing issues with air pollution in a city like Beijing.”

The Radio NL summary of your interview is “She says any health impacts will be short term and healthy or not symptoms should vanish once the fresh air returns with no long term impact.”

The Kamloops Physicians for a healthy Environment Society feels that the medical literature has spoken clearly about the dangers of forest fire smoke and high short term air pollution exposure on the health of individuals. We would like to bring to your attention four, of many, papers related to this issue. Three can be accessed through the URLs at the end of this letter and one is attached as a Dropbox linked PDF document.

KPHES is requesting that the Office of the Provincial Health Officer undertake a serious review of the impact of forest fire smoke on the health of people in the interior of the province and that public statements by your office reflect concerns for the well-being of people experiencing many weeks of high smoke concentrations.


Dr. Jill Calder

on behalf of

Kamloops Physicians for a Healthy Environment Society

URLs to Access Journal papers:

Dropbox linked PDF documents:

Ambient Air Quality and Stroke – pdf

Survey Monkey Interim Report 2017-08-16

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3 Comments on LETTER – Health officer should review impact of wildfire smoke on people

  1. Would like to thank Dr. Calder for her letter to Dr. Bonnie Henry. Along with being concerned with the well being of residents from the Interior, including Kamloops and beyond, I wonder what kind of impact the smoke is having on the firefighters, police, first responders and support staff.

  2. Cheryl Phippen // August 17, 2017 at 5:38 AM // Reply

    Could you post the links to the articles, please?

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