From the beginning of time, man has lived in a continuous state of interdependence with his environment. If the forces of nature are harnessed well, they are a source of great benefit to mankind, but when this balance is tipped, nature's backlash on man can be quite devastating. In recent times, we have seen many vivid examples of the magnitude of the destructive forces of nature, ranging from massive floods caused by typhoons such as Katrina and Rita, the hundreds of thousands of lives lost by the powerful tsunami and the destruction of the environment by the raging forest fires in Spain and California. Yet man has not learnt his lesson. Often greed, at times gross ignorance and more often than not, just indifference to the effects of his actions on the environment result in man upsetting his balance with the environment. In Malaysia, since 1990, the haze has become a predictable annual occurrence, varying only in its severity and duration. The cause being beyond our control, we are unable to prevent it from happening. However, it is within our means to be ready to take the necessary steps to minimize the effects of the haze on the health of Malaysians. In order to be able to give appropriate advice and to allay the anxiety of the general public, it is necessary to have a clear understanding about the various effects of haze on humans.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.