HealthDay: Could Wildfire Smoke Raise Rural Suicide Rates?

EXCERPT: “As this summer has shown, the massive smoke plumes generated by wildfires can dirty the air of regions many miles away. Now a new study is raising the question of whether that pollution is contributing to suicides in rural America. Researchers found a correlation between air pollution from “drifting” wildfire smoke and a rise in U.S. counties’ suicide rates. The connection was not seen everywhere, however: It was concentrated in rural counties, and among certain groups with a relatively heightened suicide rate to begin with: white, working-age men without a college education. For every 10% increase in wildfire air pollutants, the study found, a rural county’s monthly suicide rate rose by 1.5%, on average. The study was published Sept. 11 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It cannot prove that dirty air is to blame. And experts said it’s unclear exactly what is going on.” FULL STORY: