Professor Kevin Cromar, director of the Marron Institute's Air Quality Program, helped organize a recent full-day workshop in Dallas, Texas on "Respiratory Impacts of Wildfires: Future Challenges and Policy Opportunities." The workshop was hosted by the American Thoracic Society and co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Interior and U.S. EPA. Participants from academia, government agencies, and other sectors came together to discuss public and occupational health challenges, the latest research on the health effects of smoke exposures, strategies for public communication of wild land fire risks, as well as policy issues surrounding the mitigation of the health impacts of wild land fires.
Addressing the health and policy challenges of wild land fires is an ongoing focus of the Air Quality Program which efforts also include Dr. Cromar recommending in his recent testimony at a congressional subcommittee hearing the allocation of new EPA funding to more fully address research and communication gaps in understanding the health impacts of wild land fires. Ongoing political efforts by the American Lung Association and the American Thoracic Society following Cromar's testimony has led to the introduction of legislation by Senator Merkley (D-OR) to authorize EPA to establish centers of excellence for smoke research.