Doctors urge immediate planning for coming damaging effects on human health from climate change

In a newly released position paper from the American College of Physicians, key doctors are anticipating potentially devastating effects on humans as a result of climate change. These include higher rates of respiratory and heat-related illness, increased prevalence of vector-borne and waterborne diseases, food and water insecurity and much higher rates of malnutrition. Persons who are elderly, sick or poor are especially vulnerable to these consequences.

Ozone exposure results in airway inflammation and individuals with respiratory diseases are placed at greater risk. Particulate matter in the atmosphere causes pulmonary and systemic inflammation with damage to the heart and vascular system. Medical studies have confirmed that air pollution increases chances of heart attacks.

In its paper, the physicians recommend that doctors and the broader health care community throughout the world engage in environmentally sustainable practices that reduce carbon emissions, support efforts to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change; and educate the public, their colleagues, their community and adapt to the effects of climate change. The paper was released on April 19, 2016 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers