Friday, April 11, 2008

Climate change increases health risks, especially for older people and poorer people

People more vulnerable to health problems -- older people, children, poor people, and people with disabilities -- could face significant added health risks from climate change, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"Among them, the prospects of more heat waves that are of special danger to the elderly and the poor; more incidents of extreme weather posing a danger of drought in some areas and flooding in others; increase of food-borne and waterborne infectious diseases; more air pollution because of higher temperatures; and the migration into new areas of vector-borne and zoonotic diseases such as Lyme disease, West Nile virus, malaria or dengue fever as seasonal patterns change," The AP reported.

"Over the next few decades in the United States, climate change is likely to have a significant impact on health," the director of CDC's National Center for Environmental Health told the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming April 10.

"The Supreme Court a year ago declared CO2 a pollutant under the federal air quality law and told the EPA it must determine whether CO2's link to climate change endangers public health or welfare," The AP reported. "If it does, it must be regulated, said the court. But the EPA has been slow to respond to the court directive, saying it must review such a regulation's broad impact on emissions from everything from cars and power plants to schools."