The Amazon fires have been burning for months now, and children in Brazil are starting to develop breathing problems as a result. On top of releasing carbon into the atmosphere, fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is another byproduct of the fires.
These microscopic particles are less than 2.5 micrometers, which is about 3% of the diameter of human hair. Due to their size, it is easy for both humans and animals to breathe them in.
Immediately, inhalers of this toxin will see inflammation and other respiratory issues. However, if inhaled over a long period of time, these particles can lead to heart disease and even cancer.
These fires will not just impact the environment, but also everyone who breathes in these particles.
More Deadly To Children
As you may expect, the developing lungs of children are much more susceptible to these particles. A new study by the public health institute Oswaldo Cruz Foundation confirmed this suspicion.
In just the months of May and June, over 5,000 children were hospitalized. With cities that are close to fire seeing a 36% increase for child respiratory hospitalization.
When you combine the facts that children are more susceptible to the particles and spend more time outside, it is a recipe for disaster.
The Worst Has Yet To Come
The study looked at May and June, but August and September are expected to be far worse.
In reality, these months are when wildfires are more common, and considering that Brazil has seen an 80% increase in wildfires this year, the death toll will continue to rise.
On top of this, the smoke is moving towards neighboring nations. This will significantly increase the number of people that can breathe in the PM2.5 particles.
And of course, the environmental impact of the fires will have a significant impact on climate change. In fact, climate change may already be accelerated as a direct result of the Amazon fires.