The Woolcock Institute of Medical Research

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Professor Guy Marks: Major new study into the health impact of bush fires

Professor Guy Marks: Major new study into the health impact of bush fires

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Research may seem to take a long time to give us the answers we are looking for, but Professor Guy Marks, a respiratory physician, epidemiologist, public health professor at UNSW and Research Leader at the Woolcock Institute, is quick to get onto the most important questions to be asked, especially when it comes to the health impact of our raging bush fires. In an interview with ABC News, Professor Marks stated that he is not confident that there is strong evidence for the health advice being delivered by health authorities during the recent bushfire crisis. Questions like “Are masks even that effective? What about air filtration?” Professor Marks states that while we do not know the answer to these important questions, they can be tested and answered. In their world-leading proposal, a team of two dozen top Australian researchers, led by Professor Marks, plan to conduct a range of studies, including research to test the effectiveness of P2 masks and biological studies to test how smoke particles affect the bloodstream. This is important environmental research for which the team will make a bid to the Federal Government, who recently announced $5 million funding for bushfire-related research. As Professor Marks stated, “Australia is at the forefront of a changing climate and it’s our responsibility to investigate”.

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