Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate Change Poses A Huge Threat To Human Health

Date:
January 30, 2008
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Climate change will have a huge impact on human health and bold environmental policy decisions are needed now to protect the world's population. The threat to human health is of a more fundamental kind than is the threat to the world's economic system. "Climate change is beginning to damage our natural life-support system," says one of the researchers. The risks to health are many, and include the impact of heat waves, floods and wildfires, changes in infectious disease patterns, the effect of worsening food yields and loss of livelihoods.

Shanty town near the docks, Dhaka, Bangladesh. The risks to health are many, and include the impact of heat waves, floods and wildfires, changes in infectious disease patterns, the effect of worsening food yields and loss of livelihoods.
Credit: iStockphoto/Niels van Gijn

Climate change will have a huge impact on human health and bold environmental policy decisions are needed now to protect the world's population, according to the author of an article published in the British Medical Journal.

The threat to human health is of a more fundamental kind than is the threat to the world's economic system, says Professor McMichael, a Professor of public health from the Australian National University. "Climate change is beginning to damage our natural life-support system," he says.

The risks to health are many, and include the impact of heat waves, floods and wildfires, changes in infectious disease patterns, the effect of worsening food yields and loss of livelihoods.

The World Health Organisation estimates that a quarter of the world's disease burden is due to the contamination of air, water, soil and food -- particularly from respiratory infections and diarrhoeal disease.

Climate change, says Professor McMichael, will make these and other diseases worse. While it is unlikely to cause entirely new diseases it will alter the incidence, range and seasonality of many existing health disorders. So, for example, by 2080 between 20 and 70 million more people could be living in malarial regions due to climate change.

The adverse health impacts will be much greater in low-income countries and vulnerable sub-populations than in richer nations.

Professor McMichael says: "Poverty cannot be eliminated while environmental degradation exacerbates malnutrition, disease and injury. Food supplies need continuing soil fertility, climatic stability, freshwater supplies and ecological support (such as pollination). Infectious diseases cannot be stabilised in circumstances of climatic instability, refugee flows and impoverishment."

The relationship between the environment and health is complex. For example, as India modernises it expects the health of its population to improve, yet industrialisation also means a rapidly increased level of coal-burning and greater global emissions. This in turn leads to climate change, the impact of which is felt most by vulnerable populations.

Professor McMichael concludes that the global changes we are seeing now are unprecedented in their scale, and healthcare systems should develop strategies to deal with the resulting growing burden of disease and injury. More bold and far-sighted policy decisions need to be taken at national and international level to arrest the process and health professionals "have both the opportunity and responsibility to contribute to resolving this momentous issue."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Climate Change Poses A Huge Threat To Human Health." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080124190814.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2008, January 30). Climate Change Poses A Huge Threat To Human Health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080124190814.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Climate Change Poses A Huge Threat To Human Health." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080124190814.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins