Extreme heat, wildfire smoke harm low-income and nonwhite communities the most, study finds

Extreme heat and wildfire smoke on their own are harmful to the human body, but the combination of both increases damage to people’s hearts and respiratory systems, according to a study released Friday. The research, from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, finds more hospitalizations for cardiovascular and respiratory problems in areas throughout California where residents are disproportionately lower income, nonwhite, live in denser neighborhoods and lack health insurance. As climate change fuels the duration and intensity of heat waves and wildfires, researchers urge the need for environmental justice policies and joint warnings.

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