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Six Climate Change-Related Events Accounted For $14 Billion In Lost Lives And Health Costs

Posted Dec 02 2011 10:14pm
Posted on 2011-12-02 06:00:00 in Environment |

In the case of an extreme weather event, most of us concern ourselves with property damage and the subsequent inconveniences that interrupt our daily routines.  As a nation, Kim Knowlton and colleagues from Columbia University (New York, USA) submit that we have overlooked the health costs associated with climate change-related events that struck the United States between 2000 and 2009.   The researchers analyzed case studies of climate change–related events occurring during 2002 through 2009, including: Florida hurricanes, North Dakota floods, California heat waves and wild fires, nationwide ozone air pollution, and West Nile virus outbreaks in Louisiana (which were tied to warmer weather and changes in precipitation patterns).  They calculated that health costs exceeding $14 billion dollars, 21,000 emergency room visits, nearly 1,700 deaths, and 9,000 hospitalizations are among the staggering impacts of ozone pollution, heat waves, hurricanes, infectious disease outbreaks, river flooding, and wildfires: six climate change-related events projected to worsen with continued global warming.  The study authors urge that: “Our analysis provides scientists and policy makers with a methodology to use in estimating future health costs related to climate change and highlights the growing need for public health preparedness.”

Kim Knowlton, Miriam Rotkin-Ellman,  Linda Geballe, Wendy Max, Gina M. Solomon.  “Six Climate Change-Related Events In The United States Accounted For About $14 Billion In Lost Lives And Health Costs.”  Health Aff November 2011 30:2167-2176.

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