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US needs nearly $200 million more on climate-related health research
Date:9/25/2009

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---A recent commentary suggests that the U.S. should spend roughly $197 million more than it currently does to research the impact of climate change on public health.

The analysis found that the U.S. spends about $3 million in federal funds on research related to the health impacts of climate change, says Marie S. O'Neill, one of the commentary co-authors. This isn't nearly enough to adequately address the public health issues related to global warming, the group concluded.

The commentary's lead author was Kristie Ebi, a University of Michigan-trained epidemiologist and expert on climate change and public health, who is an adjunct professor of Environmental Health Sciences. The article was inspired by another study, mandated by Congress, that assesses the importance of global climate change on health, also led by Ebi. During their research and in preparing testimony for Congressional hearings on the topic, the team realized that the U.S. is woefully underfunding climate change health-related research.

Climate change is expected to exacerbate a number of current public health problems in the United States and elsewhere, including heat-related deaths, diarrheal diseases, and diseases associated with exposure to allergens and ozone. In addition, our aging population is more vulnerable to thermal extremes, as are certain demographic and geographic areas, the commentary said.

"Even disease distributions are likely to change," said Mark Wilson, another coauthor and professor of epidemiology. "Certain areas of the world could become more favorable for transmission of various infectious diseases that are associated with water, insect vectors, or non-human animal reservoirs. The challenge is to identify the critical research questions that will help inform improvements to the public health infrastructure and prepare for changing environments."

The type of research necessary to solve some of the health pr
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Contact: Laura Bailey
baileylm@umich.edu
734-647-1848
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

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