(KRON) – New research out of UC Davis shows children exposed to wildfire smoke can experience inflammation in their bloodstream, which could lead to health risks. 

“I think the findings are significant and striking because this was a sample of healthy community children that didn’t have any pre-existing issues,” said Camelia Hostinar, an author of the study. 

The study, which took place from 2017 to 2019, examined the daily collection of blood samples taken from 100 healthy children ages nine-to-11 in the Sacramento area. It shows exposure to wildfire smoke had negative effects.

Twenty-seven percent of the kids tested experienced inflammation in their blood when fires burned around their neighborhoods and recorded high levels of fine particulate matter.

“These types of cardiac autonomic regulation levels, or measures, can be associated with childhood obesity in childhood, but they also may be predictive of later heart health outcomes, like the risk for heart attack when people are older,” said Anna Parenteau, another author of the study. 

Parenteau, a PHD candidate, and associate professor Dr. Camelia Hostinar authored the study out of the department of psychology at UC Davis.

“I think it’s important to recognize that children are more vulnerable to air pollution, because their organs and systems are just developing and because they inhale more contaminants relative to their body weight compared to adults,” Hostinar said.

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The research was published this week in the journal New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development.