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As wildfires burn, scientists race to understand the health dangers of prolonged exposure

More than 120 million Americans — one-third of the U.S. population — have been living under air quality alerts this summer, with citizens in New York City, Chicago, and Detroit at times experiencing some of the unhealthiest air in the world. The hazy conditions, fed by an unprecedented surge in Canadian wildfires likely fueled by climate change, has grounded planes, canceled outdoor sporting events, and filled emergency rooms with asthma patients.

Although some cities are experiencing relief this week, the 1,000-plus blazes raging in boreal forests from British Columbia to Nova Scotia mean that Americans in the Midwest and eastern United States can expect more waves of eye-stinging, throat-burning smoke.

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