Thursday, November 02, 2006

Long term damage from the haze

The annual haze from fires in Indonesia will cause long term damage to the people in the affected region and economies too, according to haze experts. From Reuters:
This year's haze was among the worst in the past decade and health experts say the effects of repeated exposure grow over time, and can even stunt lung growth in children.

"At levels of pollution much lower than what we are talking about here, young people in the most formative stage of their development experience stunting of lung growth," Anthony Hedley, professor of community medicine at University of Hong Kong said.

"I think that is a very likely outcome of these repeated intermediate to long-term exposures of the populations in Indonesia, Malaysia (and Singapore)," he told Reuters...

Young children, the elderly and those with pre-existing heart and lung problems suffer most, experts said.

Mazrura Sahani, environmental health expert at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, studied death records from 1996-2000 in Malaysia's heavily populated Klang Valley and found that deaths from respiratory problems rose by 1.1 percent for very tiny increases in air pollution of the sort produced by haze.

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