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Climate Change May Threaten Worker Health, Productivity, Study Says
Date:2/25/2013

o [96 degrees], which is above skin temperature."

"That means a person there would be in perpetual heat stress absent air conditioning," he said. "[In Bahrain], no climatologically safe occupational labor would be allowable during the hottest months of the year, even at night. Effectively, worker capacity would be zero."

Another expert weighed in on the issue.

"We're talking about a situation that is very insidious because it's so subtle," said Solomon Hsiang, who in 2010, as a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, published a paper raising questions about the impact of global heat stress.

"The problem is that one individual may not necessarily notice if the risk of heat stress makes him or her 1 percent less productive," said Hsiang, now an assistant professor with the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. "But if you make a billion people 1 percent less productive, that will have a huge global impact."

More information

To learn more about heat stress, visit the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

SOURCES: John Dunne, Ph.D., oceanographer, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Princeton, N.J.; Solomon Hsiang, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University, N.J., and assistant professor, Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley; March 2013 Nature Climate Change


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