The Public Health Implications of Global Warming

mikecogh/CC BY-SA 2.0

The far reaching implications of global warming are becoming clear, from mass extinctions to underwater islands, monstrous storms and everywhere in between, but what about the increasing effect on public health? It falls under the radar, but in actuality, the siren is getting louder each year. So much so in fact, that epidemiologist George Luber is spearheading the CDC’s public health sphere on global climate change.

“That's because emerging science shows that people respond more favorably to warnings about climate change when it's portrayed as a health issue, rather than an environmental problem.”

Health Issues Arise

The most obvious global warming health issue is the heat itself. NRDC released a report projecting the deaths of 150,000 additional Americans by the end of this century due to killer heat waves. But hot air also causes more smog, which impacts those with asthma and other health issues. Deadly storms from hurricanes to tornadoes and flooding are undoubtedly threats, but then there are lesser known implications like the rise of infectious disease outbreaks when the temperature rises.

Potential Climate Change Health Effects according to the CDC

-Heat-Related Morbidity and Mortality
-Asthma, Respiratory Allergies, and Airway Diseases
-Vectorborne and Zoonotic Diseases
-Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke
-Weather-Related Morbidity and Mortality
-Foodborne Diseases and Nutrition
-Waterborne Diseases
-Human Developmental Effects
-Mental Health and Stress-Related Disorders
-Neurological Diseases and Disorders
-Cancer

"This is a new topic for public health," Luber said on public radio. "This is emerging largely as a result that the scientific evidence around climate change has evolved to the point that public health feels confident engaging the science; that this is a credible threat."

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Tags: Global Climate Change | Global Warming Effects

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