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Health impacts of ambient biomass smoke in Tasmania, Australia


Borchers Arriagada, N and Palmer, AJ and Bowman, DMJS and Williamson, GJ and Johnston, FH, Health impacts of ambient biomass smoke in Tasmania, Australia, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17, (9) Article 3264. ISSN 1661-7827 (2020) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.3390/ijerph17093264


The island state of Tasmania has marked seasonal variations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations related to wood heating during winter, planned forest fires during autumn and spring, and bushfires during summer. Biomass smoke causes considerable health harms and associated costs. We estimated the historical health burden from PM2.5 attributable to wood heater smoke (WHS) and landscape fire smoke (LFS) in Tasmania between 2010 and 2019. We calculated the daily population level exposure to WHS- and LFS-related PM2.5 and estimated the number of cases and health costs due to premature mortality, cardiorespiratory hospital admissions, and asthma emergency department (ED) visits. We estimated 69 deaths, 86 hospital admissions, and 15 asthma ED visits, each year, with over 74% of impacts attributed to WHS. Average yearly costs associated with WHS were of AUD$ 293 million and AUD$ 16 million for LFS. The latter increased up to more than AUD$ 34 million during extreme bushfire seasons. This is the first study to quantify the health impacts attributable to biomass smoke for Tasmania. We estimated substantial impacts, which could be reduced through replacing heating technologies, improving fire management, and possibly implementing integrated strategies. This would most likely produce important and cost-effective health benefits.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Tasmania, smoke, woodsmoke, fires, fine particulate matter, health effects, asthma, health costs, woodstoves
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Epidemiology
Research Field:Epidemiology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Borchers Arriagada, N (Mr Nicolas Borchers Arriagada)
UTAS Author:Palmer, AJ (Professor Andrew Palmer)
UTAS Author:Bowman, DMJS (Professor David Bowman)
UTAS Author:Williamson, GJ (Dr Grant Williamson)
UTAS Author:Johnston, FH (Professor Fay Johnston)
ID Code:138887
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:17
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2020-05-08
Last Modified:2020-07-24
Downloads:38 View Download Statistics

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