Early exposure to wildfire smoke can lead to birth defects
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Bill L. Lasley
Publication Year: 2023

Cataloging Information

  • birth defects
  • Camp Fire
  • pregnancy
  • rhesus macaque monkey
  • smoke exposure
  • wildfire
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: March 29, 2023
FRAMES Record Number: 67842


The results of two previously published reports of the events and impacts of the Campfire wildfire smoke exposure that occurred in California in 2018 are amplified from the point of view of the potential toxic mechanism involved. The Campfire wildfire led to the exposure of a breeding colony of macaque monkeys (Macaca mulatta) during the peak of their breeding season in 2018–2019. Considering the timing, adverse effects, and endocrine implications reported, the cumulative evidence points to an early toxic sensitive period that can lead to birth defects in higher primates and human pregnancies. This deeper inspection of the published observations provides important caveats and useful guidance for future investigators. The unique higher primate placental–adrenal–brain axis may limit the use of many traditional toxicologic approaches. Retrospective neurological evaluations of human fetuses exposed to air pollutants during organogenesis and subsequent retrospective characterization of air samples using in vitro and animal models may be the best procedures to follow.

Online Link(s):
Lasley, Bill L. 2023. Early exposure to wildfire smoke can lead to birth defects. Frontiers in Toxicology 5:1050555.