When the Oregon State Legislature goes into a special session this summer to address new COVID-19 policies, medical and public health professionals from across the state are calling on Governor Kate Brown and Oregon lawmakers to include fire and smoke preparedness measures in any legislation that addresses the impacts of COVID-19. These health professionals point to the mounting scientific evidence that exposure to fine particulate matter, found in wood smoke and other air pollution, can significantly increase the risk of mortality among those afflicted with COVID-19, and in a letter released in May, they outline recommendations to educate and prepare communities for the impending wildfire season.
On this episode of Locus Focus we talk with Catherine Thomassen with Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility about the preventative measures that healthcare leaders are urging state officials to enact.
Dr. Catherine Thomasson is an environmental consultant and advocate for healthy climate policy. She is the former executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility in Washington, D.C. (2012-2017) An internal medicine physician by training, she has contributed to city, county and state advisory boards and provided direct advocacy on issues of climate change, water treatment management and toxins.
Here’s the link to the letter that PSR sent to Governor Brown and the Oregon Legislature: https://www.oregonpsr.org/tags/healthy_climate_program_news_and_events
The Oregon Environmental Caucus is working to education and advance policy on the climate emergency and other environmental issues that impact our health, our state and its waters and air: https://dpo.org/caucuses/environmental-caucus/
This is a link from a nationally known asthma and lung center on health homes and wildfire: https://www.nationaljewish.org/conditions/health-information/air-pollution-and-healthy-homes/wildfire-smoke
Here is a link to the issue on Oregon Wild: https://oregonwild.org/prepare-communities-fire-and-smoke