As Scientific Evidence of Health Risks, Impacts of Climate Change Mounts, The Lancet Report Identifies Health Opportunities and Calls for Immediate Action
(June 22, 2015) - WASHINGTON, D.C.
Today a new report, the “2015 Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change: Policy Responses to Protect Public Health,” reaffirms the enormous threat climate change poses to public health and outlines a major global health opportunity if we move quickly to address it. In response, Norman H. Edelman, M.D., Senior Scientific Advisor for the American Lung Association, issued the following statement:
“Climate change threatens human health—and lives—today. The Lancet Commission report underscores that concerted global action is needed to mitigate the worst effects on our communities and to protect those who are most vulnerable. Harm from worsened air pollution, for example, takes a tremendous toll on people already suffering from chronic lung or heart disease, as well as children, older adults and people who work outdoors.
“The Lancet report focused on global examples; however, we see evidence here in the U.S. that climate change is already affecting our air quality. The West continues to suffer from extensive drought and heat waves, which have increased the incidence of wildfires that produce widespread particulate matter, a known cause of premature death, asthma attacks, heart attacks and lung cancer. What many don’t realize is that the smoke from these fires can worsen air quality in communities hundreds of miles away. Earlier this month, a wildfire in Central Canada blew smoke into Washington, D.C. and other cities along the east coast, increasing particulate matter levels.
“The report also reaffirms the good news that tackling climate change benefits health. Taking steps to reduce carbon pollution from power plants, like the Clean Power Plan proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, can reduce other pollutants at the same time, resulting in immediate health benefits.”
To learn more about the need for healthy air, visit: www.Lung.org/FightingForAir.