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Medical Groups Warn Of Climate Change's Potential Impact on Health
Date:2/25/2011

urnett said.

Funding the EPA to reduce greenhouse gasses will slow economic growth without improving heath, he added. "If what you are concerned about is public health there are much more efficacious ways of responding to the health threats [of] 100 years from now," he said. "So do we, by making the world poorer in the future, buy the decisions we make now on climate change regulations, do we increase the disease burden overall?"

The experts gathered at Thursday's press conference took a different stance.

The AMA's Benjamin said that climate change is leading to extreme weather events that endanger the elderly and sick. In addition, increased air pollution can increase asthma and other respiratory diseases, he noted. Climate change also increase the prevalence of airborne and water-borne disease.

Benjamin believes that the Clean Air Act, passed in 1970, has already "made significant improvements in the health and well-being of the American public."

Also speaking at Thursday's press conference was Dr. Cecil Wilson, president of the American Medical Association (AMA). He said he believes that extreme weather conditions are behind dangerous travel conditions in winter and extended heat waves in summer, which have increased in the past two decades.

"Approximately 133 million Americans are living with a chronic condition, such as heart disease or diabetes, which are aggravated by heat waves, increasing the risk for serious complications and death," Wilson said.

In the United States, these severe extended heat waves are causing unnecessary deaths, added Kristie L. Ebi, lead author for the human health chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fourth Assessment Report. The panel, which receives funding from the federal government, issues reports on climate change around the world.

"No one should die in a heat wave," Ebi said.

Climate change has caused other worrying trends, the experts said, inc
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