FIRE-Diet: food as an intervention to reduce effects of woodsmoke exposure on respiratory health

Many people in BC are exposed to woodsmoke from woodburning stoves in their homes, controlled burning for farming purposes, and increasingly from wildfires. Exposure to woodsmoke can lead to difficulty breathing, lung disease, hospitalizations, and in some people who have underlying health conditions, even death. Children, whose lungs are actively developing, may be at heightened risk. We don’t yet fully understand how woodsmoke causes health effects nor how to reduce or prevent these effects in people who can’t avoid exposure. We want to find these answers, first by examining symptoms and changes in function and immune activity in the lung with exposure to woodsmoke. We will also study whether and how the impact of woodsmoke may differ by (1) age of exposure, including developmental windows in childhood, (2) female or male sex, and (3) genetic factors, so that we can design strategies to protect and help those with the greatest and most urgent need. Lastly, because of growing evidence that a healthier diet may help the body to protect itself from pollution, we will study whether a person’s diet changes the effects of woodsmoke on the lung. This work will be performed at UBC with partners across BC and Canada.