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NIH-led interagency group identifies research needs to study climate change and human health impacts
Date:4/21/2010

A report released today by a federal working group highlights 11 key categories of diseases and other health consequences that are occurring or will occur due to climate change. The report, A Human Health Perspective on Climate Change, provides a starting point for coordination of federal research to better understand climate's impact on human health. The recommendations of the working group include research to identify who will be most vulnerable, and what efforts will be most beneficial.

"This white paper articulates, in a concrete way, that human beings are vulnerable in many ways to the health effects of climate change," said Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Toxicology Program, whose institute led the interagency effort. "It lays out both what we know and what we need to know about these effects in a way that will allow the health research community to bring its collective knowledge to bear on solving these problems."

The white paper highlights the state-of-the-science on the human health consequences of climate change on:

  • Asthma, respiratory allergies, and airway diseases
  • Mental health and stress-related disorders
  • Cancer
  • Neurological diseases and disorders
  • Cardiovascular disease and stroke
  • Waterborne diseases
  • Foodborne diseases and nutrition
  • Weather-related morbidity and mortality
  • Heat-related morbidity and mortality
  • Vectorborne and zoonotic diseases (like malaria, which can be transmitted from animals to humans)
  • Human developmental effects

The report also examines a number of cross-cutting issues for federal research in this area, including susceptible, vulnerable, and displaced populations; public health and health care infrastructure; capacities and skills needed; and communication and education efforts.

"Earth Day reminds us that changes in the environment
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Contact: Edward Kang
kanges@niehs.nih.gov
919-541-1993
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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