White House: Climate change a danger to public health

A chart showing the human health impacts of climate change. (The White House).
A chart showing the human health impacts of climate change. (The White House).
KC McGinnis | April 7, 2016

A new assessment released by the White House this week highlights the significant impacts climate change will have on the health of Americans in coming decades.

The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment was released earlier this week. The three-year study includes findings from about 100 experts in climate change and public health, and comes to some alarming conclusions.

“Rising greenhouse gas concentrations result in increases in temperature, changes in precipitation, increases in the frequency and intensity of some extreme weather events, and rising sea levels. These climate change impacts endanger our health by affecting our food and water sources, the air we breathe, the weather we experience, and our interactions with the built and natural environments.”

The White House release raises similar concerns to those in the Iowa Climate Statement 2014: Impacts on the Health of Iowans. These include the health-related effects of extreme weather events not limited to heat waves and droughts but to increased humidity and more intense rain events, which can be a factor in spreading disease. Agricultural states like Iowa can also be at greater risk of experiencing water quality issues from increased precipitation. Climate change will also affect Iowans’ respiratory health, according to the statement.

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