Canadian Lung Association Blog

Blog Archives

5 minutes with Dr. Jeremy Hirota


What’s the focus of your research? I study the relationship between the air we breathe and how this may impact airway diseases including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cystic fibrosis. Every day, we breathe more than 10,000 litres of air into our lungs just to survive. A variety of substances in the air can irritate the airways leading to coughing, wheezing, mucus production, and if bad enough, hospitalization. Unfortunately, for both healthy individuals and those suffering from airway diseases, it is difficult to control the air we breathe and we do not completely understand how poor air quality influences our

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5 minutes with Dr. Chris Carlsten


What’s the focus of your research? Our research focuses on the relationship between air pollution and public health. We look at how pollution particles affect the way genes are expressed in the body. One of our most recent studies demonstrated how two hours of exposure to diesel exhaust fumes can lead to fundamental health-related changes in biology by switching some genes on, while switching others off. How did your study work? We put volunteers in a polycarbonate-enclosed booth — about the size of a standard bathroom — while breathing in diluted and aged exhaust fumes that are about equal to

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BC Lung Association Enlists BC Communities Support on Lung Cancer Prevention

All Communities

Towns across BC have joined the BC Lung Association in proclaiming November Radon Aware month – Prince George, Kamloops, Penticton, Princeton, Trail, Creston, Nakusp, the Village of Salmo, Fort. St. James and Keremeos. Radon gas exposure accounts for an average of 55 percent of a person’s lifetime radiation exposure – and for as many as 16 percent of all lung cancer deaths each year in Canada. “Radon is one of the most hazardous sources of indoor air pollution in Canada,” said Dr. Peter Paré, Chair of the BC Lung Association and Professor Emeritus of Respiratory Medicine at the University of

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Working together for healthy communities


The BC Lung Association’s RadonAware team will be attending the Union of BC Municipalities 2015 Annual Convention on September 23rd and 24th in Vancouver. With a focus on promoting healthy communities throughout BC, the RadonAware team will share information and resources about radon, a known lung cancer risk, aiming to inspire cities throughout BC to get involved and encourage radon testing and mitigation. Collaboration is fundamental to all successful partnerships, and in January 2014, the City of Castlegar partnered with the BC Lung Association’s RadonAware team to educate residents about the health risks of radon and encourage radon testing and

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Canadian Home Builders’ Association partners with BC Lung Association to fuel action on indoor radon

warning labels

Indoor radon is the leading cause of lung cancer after smoking Anyone preparing to buy a new house in BC should be aware of new BC Building Code measures regarding indoor radon – an invisible, odourless soil gas that occurs in areas across Canada and is the leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. A serious health risk, radon poses the greatest danger when it builds up to high levels inside buildings and people are exposed to it over a long period of time. To reduce radon-related health risks, the BC government recently added new radon-related measures to the Building

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Castlegar homeowner wastes no time taking action on radon

BC Lung Association RadonAware - Area 1 Zones

When Castlegar native, Joan Blain, first heard about the BC Lung Association’s Home Radon Testing Study, she jumped at the opportunity to take part. Unlike most British Columbians, Blain had heard about radon. She knew it was a leading cause of lung cancer and that Castlegar was known to have elevated levels. So she suspected there was a good chance her home may test above the Health Canada safety guidelines of 200 Bq/m3. “I was right,” explained Blain. “The level of radon in my home was 600 Bq/m3 – three times the health guideline. When I found out I wasted

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Forest fire smoke is hard on health – particularly those living with asthma

Forest fire smoke and lung health

The 2014 forest fire season was severe in western Canada. There was more than 360,000 hectares burned in BC and more than three million hectares burned in the Northwest Territories. These fires produce smoke that negatively affects air quality throughout the region. The BC Centre for Disease Control has developed the BC Asthma Monitoring System (BCAMS) to help provincial medical health officers to better understand the impacts of smoke in real time. This system uses information from the air quality monitoring network, satellites, and BlueSky smoke forecasting system to assess smoke exposure throughout the province. It displays these data along with information about the number of asthma-related physician visits and

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Pollution levels – How does BC measure up?

Pollution Levels - How does bc measure up

Summer wildfires and periods of stagnant meteorological conditions during the fall and winter of 2014 resulted in intermittently high levels of fine particulates (PM2.5) for a number of communities. In 2014, the area of forests burned – almost 360,000 hectares – was the third highest in provincial history. Several large fires occurred in the northeast, in the vicinity of Williston Lake, Chetwynd, Tumbler Ridge and Quesnel. These and other smaller fires produced huge amounts of smoke that affected air quality levels, especially PM2.5 concentrations, in several B.C. communities. During parts of July and August, several areas of the province were under an air quality advisory due to wildfire smoke. Affected

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Need to breathe? Trees please!

need to breathe

With over 200 BC forests up in flames at the moment, and a recent air quality advisory in some regions, it might leave some wondering just how important are trees to our lung health? Most people are aware that trees play an important role in absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen, but do you know how much? Environment Canada states that “on average, one tree produces nearly 260 pounds of oxygen each year. Two mature trees can provide enough oxygen for a family of four”.  It is important to note that trees do not start producing significant amounts of oxygen

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Hazy days of summer – Forest fire smoke in Metro Vancouver

forest fire smoke- hazy days

The Ministry of Environment has issued an Air Quality Advisory for Metro Vancouver because of particulate matter in the air coming from wildfires outside the region. They advise that “Persons with chronic underlying medical conditions should postpone strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted. Staying indoors and in air conditioned spaces helps to reduce fine particulate exposure. Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have diabetes, and lung or heart disease.” Here are some tips for staying safe and keeping your lungs healthy from the effects of smoke: Pay attention to local air quality advisories

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