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University and state agencies to forecast local health effects of climate change
Date:9/24/2007

of family medicine and head of CHIT, "because the issues we are considering are interrelated." He gave as an example the higher incidence of wildfires expected from global warming. Many people would be at risk for developing lung and heart problems from smoke and poor air quality caused by the fires, he said.

Rosenblatt mentioned that there are many studies about the consequences of climate change on natural resources, but few researchers have looked at the issues from the public health point of view. Bringing together earth scientists and medical scientists is essential for this to happen.

"We need to have better information on how the health of individuals and communities might be affected by what will inevitably happen if we continue on the present course, and what we as a society can do to lessen the threat to the human population," Rosenblatt said. "My hope is that if people understand the consequences for themselves personally and for their families, they may be motivated to work to reduce global warming. When individuals realize their own well-being is at stake, they become more interested in environmental issues like air pollution control and energy conservation."

The effects of climate change are anticipated to vary from one part of the world to another and from region to region in the United States. Global warming scenarios developed for Washington state forecast the possibilities of coastal erosion, a rise in sea level, flow of salt water into fresh water wells, higher temperatures, flooding from storms, poorer air and water quality, more forest fires, melting of mountain snow packs, and warming of streams. Climate refugees from other states and countries may attempt to move to Washington state if it remains one of the few places with tolerable conditions. The influx would swell the state's population and increase the demand on its public health and medical services.

CHIT will try to determine the types of health proble
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Contact: Leila Gray
leilag@u.washington.edu
206-685-0381
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert

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