"Climate change is happening. It's a current problem and we need to address it as a public health priority," she said. However, most research described in official estimates of U.S. spending on climate and health is focused on more specific diseases; for instance sun damage and skin cancer, and doesn't address larger issues posed by climate change.
In the United States, one can look to the Hurricane Katrina disaster to see the broad health implications of the type of extreme weather that is becoming more frequent with climate change. The health consequences of flooding, including mold and fungal contamination, and the mental health consequences to displaced people are just two, the authors said.
The commentary authors concluded that federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, must establish large intra and extramural programs with funding of more than $200 million annually to adequately address the problem. The authors recommended that a standing committee within the National Academies of Sciences oversee the programs and prioritize spending.
|Contact: Laura Bailey|
University of Michigan