Monday, August 18, 2008

Diseases, heat-related deaths likely to spike from climate change: Canadian report

CBCNews (Canada): A new Health Canada report warns Canadians of the potential health risks of climate change, including spikes in heat-related deaths, an increase in respiratory and cardiovascular problems, and the spread and emergence of diseases. "The findings of this assessment suggest the need for immediate action to buttress efforts to protect health from current climate hazards," says the 500-page report, entitled "Human Health in a Changing Climate: A Canadian Assessment of Vulnerabilities and Adaptive Capacity."

It examines the effects under three categories: extreme weather events and natural hazards, air quality and heat, and diseases transmitted by water, food, insects, ticks and rodents. The projected increase of floods in some areas and drought and forest fires in others are some of the natural disasters caused by climate change that will cause health-related problems, the report says.

As well, a rise in heat waves will be accompanied by an increase in heat-related deaths, the report says, with the greatest risk to cities because of higher population densities and the urban heat island affect. Those at greater risk are people aged 65 and older, with summer mortality rates projected to be two to three times greater than for those aged 15 to 64, the report says….

….The report urges Ottawa to do more to help Canadians adapt to climate change. It cites "significant barriers to adaptation" that include a lack of knowledge of health risks and uneven access to protective measures across the country.

No comments: