September 22, 2022
Dr. Marilyn Black Contributes to National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Report
Wildfires are a growing threat throughout the world as climate change drives more extreme weather events. Urban development has been expanding into wilderness areas and fires are increasing at the interface between wildland and urban areas, known as the wildland urban interface (WUI). Communities within the WUI face a unique public health challenge as fires burning here lead to additional toxic atmospheric emissions, effluents, and residues that are not typical of wildland fires.
Published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the report, “The Chemistry of Fires at the Wildland-Urban Interface,” describes opportunities for chemistry research to fill critical gaps that decision-makers can use to help mitigate WUI fires and their potential impact on public health. This report describes fuels of concern in WUI fires, examines primary routes of exposure, and identifies communities that are vulnerable to exposures. It also recommends a multidisciplinary research agenda to prevent and inform response to WUI fires.
Dr. Marilyn Black of the Chemical Insights Research Institute at UL Research Institutes was selected for and served as a committee member on this report. Her contributions focused on material and fuel chemistries, human exposure, and health impacts of toxicants and mitigative strategies. Chemical Insights Research Institute currently has two research initiatives focused on the impact of WUI fires on community health.